Redistricting Debate May Further Push N.C. Primary Date Back
Posted March 18, 2004 4:30 a.m. EST
RALEIGH, N.C. — For the second time in two years, the State Supreme Court is considering a challenge to maps outlining legislative districts. In 2002, Republicans took their case to a Johnston County judge. This time, the Democrats want the issues heard in Wake County.
Some Republicans said the newly drawn districts cross too many county lines, and they do not think a panel of three Wake County judges will object. Ashley Stephenson, who successfully challenged the maps last time, said Democratic lawmakers are trying to delay the process.
"They have delayed for their own political reasons. I just think it is bad faith that these guys are coming to the people of North Carolina and asking them to continue to put up with this garbage," he said.
The state's top democratic lawmakers argue the maps are fair, and they are not interested in drawing new ones.
"We might find ourselves like the artist who cut his ear off if we had to do any more drawing," said Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland. "I think we've drawn about all we want to, so hopefully, this will put it to rest.
Aside from an answer from the Supreme Court, the state is still waiting on federal approval for the new district maps.
The candidate filing period is slated to begin April 26. The North Carolina primary, which was originally set for May 4, is now scheduled for July 20. If the redistricting maps are not settled by then, the state Board of Elections will have to move the primary to a later date.