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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.

Go deeper

Democratic retirements spark worry over holding House majority

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) are the latest lawmakers to announce that they will not seek re-election this year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 28, compared with 14 Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge to affirmative action at Harvard, UNC

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging the consideration of race in the college admissions processes.

Why it matters: The conservative high court's ruling could determine the future of affirmative action in higher education.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.