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NC high court delays 2022 primaries amid map battle

North Carolina’s Supreme Court delayed the 2022 primary elections by two months in light of court battles over the state’s newly drawn legislative district maps.

RALEIGH, N.C. (CN) — North Carolina residents were expected to submit primary ballots in early March, but the state’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that they’ll need to wait until May. 

In addition to ordering that the state’s primary elections will not be held on March 8 as originally expected, the North Carolina Supreme said in an order on Wednesday that candidate filings for 2022 are put on hold until relevant legal issues are resolved.

The court said in the six-page ruling that voters in the Tar Heel State will be able to head to the polls on May 17. 

Candidates who have already been approved to run in the election will be considered valid candidates. 

The order applies to North Carolina House and Senate races as well as the race for a U.S. House seat. 

The delay comes after organizations, including the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and an affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, saw their claims of illegal gerrymandering reviewed in state courts. 

Those groups brought different lawsuits against North Carolina elections officials alleging the state’s political maps were drawn by the legislature based on political leanings and the racial demographic of voters. 

On Monday, a state appeals court panel had blocked filing for legislative and congressional candidates, but the full 15-member court was asked to address the question.  

According to the judges on Wednesday, a three-judge panel hearing the two lawsuits must issue a ruling by Jan. 11, citing “great public interest” and the primary elections’ importance as reasons for the prompt deadline.

An appeal of this decision by the state’s board of elections, however, is expected as North Carolina officials continue to feud over political district lines. 

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