Court delays N. Carolina filing for legislative, US House

Published 2:50 pm Monday, December 6, 2021

A North Carolina appeals court on Monday halted for now candidate filing for U.S. House and state legislative seats while judges there consider whether to block the use of district boundaries that lawsuit filers claim are illegal partisan gerrymanders.

A Court of Appeals order directed state and local officials not to begin accepting candidates for those seats, which was supposed to begin at noon. Filing for other positions — including U.S. Senate, judicial seats and city and county positions — began as scheduled in Raleigh and at county election offices in all 100 counties.

The temporary stay was sought by and granted to the plaintiffs in a lawsuit led by by the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. They allege the maps approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly are unlawfully designed to secure GOP control of the legislature and for the party to win at least 10 of the state’s 14 U.S. House seats. A panel of three trial judges refused Friday the plaintiffs’ requests to block elections from occurring under the plans.

The league’s attorneys, in asking for the temporary delay earlier Monday, told the appeals court there would be “needless waste and inconvenience” should candidates file in what they consider “unlawfully drawn districts.”

“Needless aggravation may ensue if the state board must throw out existing candidacies and start over,” they wrote.

The order of the intermediate-level appeals court told lawyers for Republican legislative leaders and the state to respond to the league’s arguments by midday Thursday. The candidate filing period for the March 8 primary is supposed to continue through noon Dec. 17. The league wants the primary date pushed backed to May.

State Board of Election officials, which are holding candidate filing at the State Fairgrounds, learned about the delay shortly after 11:30 a.m., board spokesperson Patrick Gannon said.