Groups challenging new North Carolina district maps want primary delayed

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January 11, 2012

North Carolina

RALEIGH, North Carolina: Democrats and advocacy groups challenging the state's new district maps filed a motion in Wake County Court on Friday, asking that the primary election be moved from May 8 to July 10 while their cases are pending in court. The lawsuits in question allege that the new district lines illegally cluster black voters, effectively diluting their vote, and cross more county lines than needed.

The plaintiffs see the delay as necessary because they believe their challenge will likely be successful. In their motion to push back the primary, attorneys Anita Earls and Eddie Speas state, "Once elections take place under an unconstitutional system, it is impossible to go back and restore plaintiffs, voters, candidates and elected officials back to the place where they would have been if elections did not occur."[1]

Attorneys for the state and GOP argue that the new districts were drawn legally and meet state and federal requirements. The maps were approved by the US Department of Justice on November 1, 2011.[2] A hearing to dismiss the two lawsuits is scheduled for tomorrow.[3]

The current candidate filing period is set to run from February 13-29. Under the motion to delay, that period would change to April 27 - May 7. It is not yet clear when a judge will rule on the request.[4] North Carolina previously moved their primary date in 2002 and 2004 over redistricting lawsuits.

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