RALEIGH, N.C. — On Tuesday, Wake County Superior Court judge Graham Shirley dismissed a lawsuit claiming that North Carolina’s new congressional map is unfairly drawn to favor Republicans in a way that subverts previous standards issued by the courts.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports:
The 2022 elections are moving ahead as scheduled — so far — after a Wake County judge on Tuesday refused to grant the requests of a voting rights group that wanted to delay the March 8 primary.
The group was seeking to push the primary back to May, to give lawmakers time to redraw the maps they just passed and which will determine the political districts for North Carolina’s 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as the 170 seats in the state House and Senate.
The lawsuit didn’t challenge the maps themselves as unconstitutional, just the process and rules Republicans used while drawing the maps. And since the maps are still law and have not been ordered to be redrawn, Superior Court Judge Graham Shirley said there was no basis to delay the elections for a redraw.
“There’s no harm to address,” he said, adding that it would be a violation of the constitutional separation of powers for him to rule otherwise.
The map, passed by the North Carolina legislature on Nov. 4, sets the stage for a House delegation favoring Republicans by an 11-3 margin, a sizable gain from the Tar Heel State’s current 8-5 delegation. The map not only draws out Democrat Rep. Kathy Manning and places outgoing Rep. G.K. Butterfield into a hypercompetitive territory, but also shores up formerly vulnerable Republican Reps. Richard Hudson and Dan Bishop by drawing them into districts that favor Republicans by margins of over 20%.
However, this is far from final, and the map can certainly still be struck down — the case is now likely headed to the North Carolina Supreme Court, where Democrats hold a 4-3 majority.
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