The picture for North Carolina’s 2020 elections playing field got a little clearer last week.
First, state legislative districts are now final. After the state Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal on an expedited basis, the parties challenging North Carolina’s legislative maps announced that they would not appeal further. “We won’t appeal further,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. “We’re pleased that our landmark victory … has clearly established that partisan gerrymandering is illegal in North Carolina.”
This clears the way for candidates to put their names on the ballot when the filing period opens at noon December 2. It closes for these offices at noon December 20. By the time the legislature reconvenes on January 14, we’ll know more about who may be there for the term starting in 2021.
Second, the candidate filing for congressional races in 2020 will be delayed. Last week, the three-judge Superior Court panel hearing both the legislative and congressional partisan gerrymandering cases put a stop to congressional candidate filing until the court has approved a map for use in the 2020 elections. Judges postponed their hearing on whether to approve the legislature’s most recent congressional district redraw until December 2, the same day candidate filing begins for other offices.
In this hearing, the court will decide whether to allow candidate filing and elections to proceed under the redrawn congressional districts. The original plaintiffs in this case are asking the court to reject the redrawn maps and delay filing and primary voting for Congress until the court itself establishes new districts untainted by extreme partisan gerrymandering. Elections officials have estimated that district maps need to be finalized by December 15 for congressional primaries to still occur on March 3 with other offices.Stay tuned here for updates — and remember, wherever and whenever you end up voting, get active and vote with the environment in mind!