The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday October 26th

Primary Elections Date Set

The N.C. General Assembly set the state primary election this week for Sept. 10 after the U.S. Department of Justice ruled that the district maps did not violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Both the House and Senate unanimously approved legislation this week that set the Sept. 10 primary date and eliminated a primary runoff due to the compressed election schedule. A runoff is typically held if no candidate receives more than 40 percent of the vote in the primary election.

The primaries were originally scheduled for May 7 but were put on hold due to a lengthy legal battle. The general election is still scheduled for Nov. 5.

The N.C. State Board of Elections is expected to meet this week to set a filing period. All state legislative candidates, including those who already filed in March, will have to file once again. The filing period is expected open as early as Friday and will to last about a week.

House Minority Leader Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, said on the House floor Tuesday that legislators should approve the primary date and put the redistricting battle behind them. "I see no reason why we shouldn't move forward with elections," Daughtry said.

The legislature's actions bring to an end a political battle over state district lines that has lasted for much of the year.

The original district maps, which were approved by the Democratically controlled legislature last November, were contested in court by Republicans who claimed that the maps violated the state constitution.

A court battle ensued that included the state Supreme Court rejecting the district maps and the legislature being called back into session in May to draw new maps. But Superior Court Judge Knox Jenkins struck down the redrawn maps and made slight changes to the House plan and drastic changes to the Senate plan. The new maps are expected to be more friendly to Republican candidates than the ones originally approved by the legislature.

The maps redrew district lines around Orange County. Orange County Reps. Joe Hackney and Verla Insko, who had been part of the same two-member district, are now in separate districts.

Orange County Sens. Howard Lee and Ellie Kinnaird, who were also in the same two-member district, are now in the same single-member district and will have to face each other in the primary. Kinnaird has previously announced that she will seek re-election, and Lee said Tuesday that he will also file for re-election. The pair has represented Orange County since 1996.

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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