GREENSBORO, N.C. — A longtime elections attorney in North Carolina has challenged the law barring unaffiliated voters from serving on the state’s new combined elections and government ethics board.

Michael Crowell of Orange County sued Wednesday in central North Carolina federal court. The law in practice requires the board’s eight members be comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans.

Crowell says registered unaffiliated voters — now comprising 30 percent of the state’s electorate and almost surpassing GOP registered votes — have rights to freedom of speech and association denied by being shut out of service. The lawsuit also challenges limiting county election boards to Democrats and Republicans.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has sued over the existence of the recently retooled state and county boards, but state judges recently upheld them.