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N.C. Supreme Court throws out maps

N.C. Supreme Court throws out maps

As expected, the North Carolina Supreme Court overruled  on party lines a unanimous Wake County Superior Court decision that upheld new congressional and state legislative maps as constitutional.

The decision came on the evening of Feb. 4, just two days after oral arguments were heard, and throws the maps back to the Republican-led General Assembly, which will now attempt to draw maps that aren’t racial and/or partisan gerrymanders as they have been ruled to be in the past. 

Chief among the complaints about the maps were the proposed congressional district lines, which gave Republicans a likely 10-4 advantage, possibly even an 11-3 advantage, in a state where Donald Trump won by just 1.6 points in 2020, a Democratic governor is serving his second term, almost all Council of State offices and both U.S. Senate seats are held by Republicans, who also dominate the General Assembly but represent a minority on the Supreme Court. 

Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s congressional district was altered slightly, but Cawthorn announced on Nov. 11 that he’d seek reelection in a new district. Widespread changes to the state’s congressional maps could impact Cawthorn’s decision. 

Significant changes were also made to the districts of Western North Carolina Republican representatives Mark Pless and Mike Clampitt, and a seemingly nonsensical chunk of Haywood County — Canton, basically — was cut out of the district of Sen. Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin. 

It’s not yet clear what changes will be made to the maps, or if any of them will affect WNC districts, but Republicans have until Feb. 18 to present new maps. The court is scheduled to adopt maps no later than noon on Feb. 23. 

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Barring further legal action or delays, the candidate filling period will commence on Feb. 24 and run through noon on March 4. 

Absentee ballots will begin to be mailed on out March 28, and prospective voters will have until April 22 to register or change their party affiliation. 

One-stop early voting will take place from April 28 through May 14 in advance of the Primary Election, which will be held on May 17. 

As is often the case in North Carolina, all election-related dates are subject to change, sometimes on short notice. 

For more information on eligibility, dates, registration and voting procedures – especially for overseas members of the United States armed forces – consult your county board of elections, which can be found at the North Carolina State Board of Elections website, ncsbe.gov

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