U.S. District Court Orders Legislative Maps Redrawn, Special Elections Next Year | News

U.S. District Court Orders Legislative Maps Redrawn, Special Elections Next Year


The current maps, enacted in 2011.
  • The current maps, enacted in 2011.
A three-judge panel on the  U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina has unanimously ordered the North Carolina legislature to redraw legislative maps by March, hold a special primary in late August or early September, and hold a special general election in early November. The Middle District found the districts unconstitutional in August, but because of the timing of that order being given right before the election, allowed the election to proceed with districts it had found unconstitutional.

"This Court’s order finding the current districts unconstitutional was entered on August 15, 2016, and the State has already had over three months to work on a redistricting plan," the panel said in the seven-page order. "Nothing has prevented the State from holding hearings, commissioning studies, developing evidence, and asking experts to draw proposed new districts over this three month period. Indeed, nothing prevented the current legislature from complying with the Court’s order to redistrict."

If the legislature doesn't redraw the districts by the March 15, 2017 deadline, the court can draw them.

"North Carolinians deserve fair representation in the state legislature, and that is impossible to achieve with racially gerrymandered districts," Southern Coalition for Social Justice (which was one of three firms that represented the plaintiffs in the case) executive director Anita Earls said in a statement. "A special election in the affected districts in 2017 is the best way to protect the rights of all North Carolinians."

We'll continue to update this story with more information as we get it. You can read the order below.

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