The three federal judges who could decide whether North Carolina will have special elections this year in state legislative races issued notice Friday that they plan to act quickly. The memorandum comes four days after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling unanimously affirming that 28 of North Carolina’s districts used to elect members to the state Senate and state House of Representatives are illegal racial gerrymanders that diluted the overall power of black voters. The challengers of the 2011 redistricting plan submitted a request on Thursday to the three-judge panel asking for quick resolution to fix the gerrymandered districts.
In their request, the challengers told the judges that legislative leaders were opposed to their request, that the state Board of Elections had no position on the matter, and “that the State of North Carolina ‘agrees that the public interest calls for a prompt decision on the possibility of a special election in 2017.’ ”
Such a stance could raise new questions about who represents the state – the legislative branch or the executive branch.
Gov. Roy Cooper, the Democrat at the helm of the executive branch, called a special 14-day session this week for the legislative branch to draw new maps to correct the racial gerrymandered districts that have been used for the past three election cycles. The legislators quickly canceled the session.