A delay in this year’s primary elections – for which absentee voting has begun – will disenfranchise overseas military personnel and other North Carolinians voting by absentee ballot, Jerry Reinoehl of Fayetteville said on Monday at a statewide public hearing. The state’s congressional districts should not be changed, he said. The districts should be revised, said Wanda Lawrence of Fayetteville, and the March 15 primary elections delayed if needed in order to protect the constitutional rights of the people living in two districts that a panel of federal judges recently ruled are unconstitutionally unfair. Those two arguments and others were made Monday during a statewide public hearing held at Fayetteville Technical Community College and five other locations on how to revise northeast North Carolina’s 1st and central North Carolina’s 12th congressional districts.
The three-judge panel said those districts are unconstitutionally gerrymandered based on the race of their residents and voters.
The population of each of those districts was more than 50 percent black in the census.
Unless the U.S. Supreme Court grants a reprieve, North Carolina’s lawmakers will have to change the boundaries and composition of the 1st and 12th Districts and, in the process, change one or more of the districts that border them, and no later than Friday.