County election dates unaffected by redistricting case

County election dates unaffected by redistricting case

The recent decision made by The North Carolina Supreme Court to toss out North Carolina’s congressional and legislative maps has not affected county election or filing dates at this time.  

Chad Barnes, director of the Caldwell County Board of Elections, said, “The primary remains on May 17 of 2022, with candidate filing beginning on Feb. 24, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. and goes through March 4, 2022, ending at 12 noon.”

According to the North Carolina General Assembly, redistricting occurs every 10 years, when states get new population numbers from the United States Census Bureau. The party in control of the general assembly is tasked with drawing new districts for congressional seats, and the state House and Senate.

Gerrymandering occurs when the maps are drawn in a way that favors one race or political party over the other, by packing voters of a particular party or race into one district, or breaking them up to dilute their voting power.  

Traditionally, the maps are drawn in closed sessions in Raleigh, but this year legislators drew the maps on computers visible to the public, in open rooms in the General Assembly.

Criteria for the maps specifically stated the committees were not to use data from past elections, or racial data. However, during the January trial, Caldwell County’s North Carolina State Representative, Destin Hall,  admitted to using reference maps drawn outside of the committee room. 

According to documents filed at the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the justices ruled 4-3 that the current maps are unconstitutional under the free elections, equal protection, free speech and freedom of assembly clauses of the North Carolina Constitution, due to heavily favoring republican voters. 

“The NC Supreme Court provided the General Assembly until Feb. 18, 2022 to submit new maps,” Barnes said. “The parties and interveners also may submit maps. The trial court will determine which maps will be used by Feb. 23, 2022 at 12 noon, and any emergency appeal of its decision must be filed with the NC Supreme Court by Feb. 23, 2022 at 5 p.m.”

The court order also states that if the new maps are not submitted by deadline, or fail to pass a vote, the three-judge panel residing over the case in Wake County will select the new maps. 

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