Local & State
|Judges: New North Carolina Congress map will be used in 2020|
|Court OKs Republican-drawn lines|
|Published Monday, December 2, 2019 1:37 pm|
RALEIGH — A panel of North Carolina judges say the U.S. House district map that Republican state legislators drew last month will be used in elections next year.
The three judges decided Monday there wasn’t enough time in the election cycle to consider detailed redistricting arguments from the lawmakers and from voters who challenged the latest congressional maps.
The North Carolina primary is March 3, and candidate filing opened Monday. The judges had suspended congressional filings while they reviewed the case, but Judge Paul Ridgeway said from the bench the State Board of Elections can now start receiving filings from U.S. House hopefuls.
The judges blocked the use of the 13 district boundaries approved in 2016 because they were likely unlawful partisan gerrymanders, so the General Assembly created a new map.
Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), who co-chairs the upper chamber’s Committee on Redistricting and Elections, called the ruling vindication for Republican lawmakers.
“The Democratic Party’s scheme to use judges to effectuate a Democratic gerrymander has failed,” he said in a statement. “Now that a unanimous, bipartisan court has denied the plaintiffs’ last-minute challenge to the 2019 congressional map and the candidate filing period is open and under way, we can finally put this decade of relentless litigation behind us.”
State Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin expressed disappointment with the decision.
“North Carolina Republicans yet again run out the clock on fair maps, denying justice to North Carolina voters and forcing our state to go another election using undemocratic district lines,” he said. “North Carolina Democrats will not stop fighting for truly fair maps where voters – not undemocratically-elected politicians – choose their representatives, and we look forward to sending new representatives to Congress who will better reflect our state’s values.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that state courts are better suited to decide redistricting disputes. Republican lawmakers argued a redraw would create voter confusion and potentially delay elections, including the March 3, 2020 primary.
Additional reporting by The Post’s Herbert L. White.
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