Dec 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

N.C. court delays spring primaries due to gerrymandering lawsuits

Caption: Precinct 30 in NoDa in 2019. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

Precinct 30 in NoDa in 2019. Photo: Katie Peralta Soloff/Axios

The North Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday postponed all March 8, 2022 primaries to May 17 of next year to allow lower courts to review gerrymandering lawsuits that cloud the state's elections.

The big picture: The two-month shift affects everything from the U.S. Senate race to the already delayed Charlotte City Council election. The Republican-led legislature has faced claims of gerrymandering since early November, when it finalized the new maps for U.S. House, state Senate and state House.

Why it matters: Turnout, possibly.

Many voters in this purple state are already weary of constant changes to maps and shifts in election dates over the past decade.

  • In a span of a three days starting Monday, a lower court halted candidate filing, then had that decision overruled, and now this from the state Supreme Court.

Between the lines: Charlotte's city council election was already delayed from this November to spring 2022, after the U.S. Census Bureau was late to deliver 2020 population figures that would allow council to redraw local districts.

  • The city council primary was scheduled for March 8. Now it will be May 17, 2022 — unless this ruling is overturned. In other words, this council will have been in place for more than half-a-year after a scheduled re-election.

What else is affected: The U.S. Senate primaries, the state Senate primaries and the state House primaries.

  • Also, the court's ruling halted candidate filing, which was supposed to be completed by Dec. 17.

What's next: The ruling directs the trial courts to provide their own written rulings by Jan. 11, 2022, to keep with that schedule.

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