The N.C. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the state must delay the date of all primary elections for public offices as part of an ongoing legal battle over the state’s congressional maps.
The court said elections cannot be held on the originally scheduled primary date of March 8, 2022, and directed the state to push them back to May 17.
This development comes as a result of the legal action being taken by the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters, alongside individual voters and other leaders, against Republican lawmakers over the state’s new federal and state congressional maps, which the former said they believe “create (and intentionally create) a severe partisan gerrymander.”
On Monday, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay on candidate filing for the state's U.S. House, state House and state Senate races, but this was vacated shortly after on the same day.
In a statement following Wednesday's ruling, U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley, who previously served as chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, said the ruling was needed to protect the right to vote.
"From the beginning of this process, Republican legislators have made it clear it was more important to silence certain voters than work with members of both parties on fair congressional maps," Beasley said. "Their self-serving politics continue to put our elections at risk which is why the Supreme Court’s decision was necessary."
The ruling also said the filing period for candidates for public offices must be suspended until a final judgment on the merits of the plaintiff’s claims can be reached. The N.C. Supreme Court directed the trial court currently handling the case to issue a written ruling on or before Tuesday, Jan. 11.
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