The decision follows an N.C. Supreme Court ruling last week that the primary for legislative seats could not be held until it is determined whether recently-redrawn voting districts violate the state's constitution because they cross county lines.
Republicans say that the districts split county lines to favor democratic candidates in elections for the next 10 years.
Democrats and lawyers for the state say that the provision that mandates districts stay within one county is no longer enforceable because the federal Voting Rights Act and federal requirements for proportional representation have superseded it.
In a ruling in late February, Superior Court Judge Knox Jenkins ruled the new plans unconstitutional, agreeing with Republicans that the federal requirements did not mean legislators should ignore the state constitution when drawing districts.
The N.C. Supreme Court will hear the case April 4 and ultimately determine whether the districts need to be redrawn. If they do need to be redrawn, lawmakers will have to create the maps anew and have them approved by the U.S. Justice Department before elections can be held. If they do not need to be redrawn, the board will meet again to set a primary date, allowing five weeks minimum for election preparations.
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