On January 20th, 2012, a three-judge panel appointed by Chief Justice Sarah Parker to hear arguments in a case challenging the legality of congressional and state legislative district maps passed by the GOP-led N.C. General Assembly in July unanimously declined to delay North Carolina’s candidate filing period and primary election date. Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, the presiding judge in the case, stated, “The court is not persuaded that a delay of the primaries for these three races [congressional, state Senate and state House] even for a 45 day or so period, as proposed by the plaintiffs, will have any meaningful, practical value or materially aid in protecting the rights asserted by the plaintiffs during the course of this litigation.” Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), Co-Chairman of the Joint Redistricting Committee, released the following statement Friday regarding the court’s decision not to delay North Carolina’s primary elections.
“Today’s decision means that North Carolina voters and candidates have certainty over the 2012 elections. While litigation regarding redistricting will continue to be handled by the legal system, today’s decision ensures that no practical impact will be had upon the timing of candidate filing, primary elections, or the general election in November. From the beginning of this process, we have endeavored to create maps that are fair and legal. Today’s decision protects the certainty our citizens deserve to have in our electoral process.” – David Lewis
As a result of the unanimous decision to decline the delay of North Carolina’s candidate filing period and primary election date, the candidate filing period (February 13-29) and the primary election (May 8) will occur as scheduled, and the court will continue to hear arguments in the case.