Judges allow NC election plans to proceed  

By on December 3, 2021

Ruling comes among legal challenges to new redistricting maps

New NC redistricting map

A three-judge panel in Raleigh ruled on Friday Dec. 3 that candidate filings based on the recently redistricted maps can begin, as planned, on Monday Dec. 6.

The panel comprised of Superior Court judges A. Graham Shirley, Nathaniel J. Poovey and Dawn M. Layton was assigned the case by Chief Justice Paul Newby.

Today’s ruling was about whether to allow the March 2022 primaries and it is allowing the remainder of the challenges to the new maps on the merits to move forward. The judges heard oral briefs from attorneys representing the League of Conservation Voters and another case involving a second group of voters. Plaintiffs declared that the maps were drawn to ensure Republican majorities in both the state legislature and the congressional delegation.

Assessments of the new Congressional House Districts project Republicans to win 10 of 14 districts with one being a toss-up. Another analysis of the newly drawn districts of the state legislature indicates Republicans would hold a wider majority than they currently have if the maps are upheld.

The Republican-created maps have sliced through Dare County on a north/south axis to place its voters in two different North Carolina House districts.

The upper portions of the county – Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and a portion of Kill Devil Hills — will be added to Currituck, Perquimans, Washington and Tyrrell counties to form what will become House District 1.

The southern portion of Dare County, including everything south of the line in Kill Devil Hills and Colington, will be added to what will be known as House District 79.

Splitting the county between districts has drawn criticism from local officials who fear confusion on the part of voters and issues with coordinating the efforts of two different state House representatives.

Incumbent NC Representative Ed Goodwin, a Republican, is expected to run to retain his seat in the remade District 1. Incumbent Republican Keith Kidwell, who currently serves the majority of residents in District 79, is also expected to run to retain his seat. The map changes the lines of that district to include southern Dare County, Beaufort, Hyde and Pamlico counties.

Dare County residents are currently represented in the NC Senate by District 1 Senator Republican Bob Steinburg. But in the newly drawn maps, Steinburg’s home county – Chowan – has been removed from that district. Instead, Steinburg will be double bunked with Republican Senator Norman Sanderson, who currently serves the majority of the newly drawn district. Steinburg has posted in social media that he will file to run in the new district.

State Rep. Bobby Hanig, a Republican Currituck County resident, has announced plans to run for the new District 1 Senate seat.

Congressional lines also have changed. The new District 1 includes 16 counties including Dare, Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt and Tyrell counties. A portion of Onslow County will be divided between the new District 1 which includes Dare County and District 3.

Candidate filing for the NC Senate, House and local contests will be at the Dare County Board of Elections beginning on Dec. 6.

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