North Carolina's March 15th primary may not happen as a state court has ruled two of the state's thirteen congressional districts to be redrawn as they are unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel in North Carolina’s Middle District Court on Friday declared the 1st and 12th congressional districts unconstitutionally drawn, ordered new maps be drawn by Feb. 19 and halted “any elections for the office of U.S. Representative until a new redistricting plan is in place.” Specifically, the court found the congressional districts to be racially gerrymandered.
The ruling tosses the March 15 primaries into a state of uncertainty, but the State Board of Elections is telling local elections directors to continue issuing absentee ballots.
“Do not make any change to your current administration of the March primary,”said State Board of Elections General Counsel Josh Lawson in a Friday email. “We will inform you immediately if and when our litigation counsel at the Attorney General’s Office indicates new procedures are required.”
When reached by phone Monday, Lawson said the state is encouraging voters to complete ballots as normal.
“We’re encouraging everyone to vote their full ballot because we don’t yet know the scope of any redistricting effort,” Lawson said. “For example, look at the 11th Congressional District in western North Carolina. It might not be affected by redistricting, and we don’t want people self-censoring and deciding not to vote.”
North Carolina Republicans of course are saying that there's no way that the districts can be redrawn until after the 2016 elections and are immediately appealing the decision, but at least one GOP leader in the state admits that a special session to redraw the districts could happen next week, but of course that would mean that the new districts wouldn't go into effect until January 2019...and would be re-drawn all over again in 2020.
Considering NC Republicans did everything they could to delay the ruling as packing the majority of the state's black voters into those two districts gave the GOP 9 of 13 House seats, they now want a stay because it's too late to change things. These districts have been disenfranchising black voters for six years, and the GOP wants at least another two minimum.
Nice guys, huh?