Groups unhappy with the North Carolina legislative and congressional districts drawn three years ago by the General Assembly have asked the state Supreme Court to delay this year’s primary elections. In a request for a temporary injunction filed with the state’s highest court Thursday, attorneys for Democratic voters and civil rights groups argued that it would be disruptive to proceed with the established election cycle while constitutional questions linger about the 2011 maps. The filing period for candidates seeking seats in the state General Assembly and the U.S. House is set to open Feb. 10 and close on Feb. 28. Primary elections are set for May 6. “Sufficient time may not now exist for this Court to properly resolve the significant federal and state constitutional questions presented in this appeal,” the request for relief states.
The attorneys argue that a delay of the filing period and primaries “until prospective candidates know with certainty the configuration of the election districts would be significantly less disruptive to candidates and election officials and less confusing to the public.”
They point to a court order issued in 2002, when there was a similar challenge of legislative and congressional maps drawn by the General Assembly. The 2002 order halted the election process after it began, shifting the May primary elections to mid-September of that year.
On Monday, state Supreme Court justices are scheduled to hear arguments in Raleigh about the legislative and congressional districts adopted by the Republican legislature two years ago. The districts are intended to be used through the 2020 elections.