North Carolina will not be required to hold special elections under remedied districts this fall, according to a decision by a three-judge panel Monday.
The ruling comes after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed an earlier judgment that the state's existing legislative districts violated the U.S. Constitution and were “racial gerrymanders” on June 5.
Legislators will have until Sept. 1 to redraw unconstitutional districts — several weeks later than the plaintiffs’ suggestion of an Aug. 11 deadline for remedial districts.
The deadline might be extended to Sept. 15 if the Senate and House Redistricting Committees establish criteria used for drawing remedial districts and create a forum for public feedback on or before Aug. 21.
The panel said the legislature could have been preparing and gathering information to draw new maps over the past months.
“At the same time, we recognize the legislature’s right to redraw the new districts in the first instance, if it will do so in a timely fashion,” the decision said.
N.C. Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, said he is OK with the ruling for no special elections, as it will give legislators additional time to prepare.
But he said the court and redistricting processes might be far from over.
“If the courts reject #ncga maps & have a special master draw maps, we may not see final maps until closer to end of the year,” Meyer said in a Tweet.
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