Wednesday, July 17

NC 2022 Primary Turning Into A Confusing Mess

ASHEBORO N.C. – Back on December 8th, 2021, we reported on the NC Supreme Court stopping candidate filing in all races and pushing the 2022 Statewide Primary Election from March 8th to May 17th. Now, it looks like that date may change again in what can only be called an unmitigated disaster involving multiple lawsuits, a dead map makers estranged daughter, a D.C. based watchdog group.

What’s Happened So Far

September 2021 – A court ordered a redraw of the states election districting map as a part of a decision on a lawsuit filed by Common Cause, a watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. That court said that the General Assembly had gerrymandered the map by “packing” democratic voters into a smaller number of districts and “cracking” republican voters into more districts.

Legislators were forced to admit they used prior election results to draw maps that would favor the Republican Party in the state after secret files from the deceased mapmaker were turned over by his estranged daughter to Common Cause who was suing to have the maps redrawn.

November 2021 – New maps were drawn up and passed in the NC House. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project, a group of academics who grade maps using mathematical models to measure fairness, gave the redrawn map an “F” for extreme partisan bias. At the time the map was one of the worst maps in the country. President Trump had won NC in the previous election with 49.9% of the vote, but new maps drawn by North Carolina’s Republican would have given the NC GOP 71% of the seats in the state House. Several groups filed suit against the maps.

December 3, 2021 – A three judge panel refused a request to put the NC primaries scheduled for March on hold while they reviewed the case to decide whether lawmakers need to redraw the maps, again.

December 6th 2021 – Candidate filing was able to start on time with the Primary being scheduled for March 8th 2022.

December 8th 2021 – Just two days after candidate filing started, the N.C. Supreme Court put a stop to it and moved the 2022 Statewide Primary Election from March 8th to May 17th 2022. The state’s Supreme Court said lawsuits against the redrawn maps by the NAACP and NC League of Conservation Voters both needed to be be heard and considered by the courts with a decision set to be made by Jan. 11th.

Previous NC Election District Map (From FiveThirtyEight)
New NC Election District Map (From FiveThirtyEight)

What’s Happening Now?

On January 19th 2022, House Bill 605 passed the NC House & Senate with votes along party lines. The bill would move primary date to June 7th 2022. Supreme Court arguments in the case are currently scheduled February 2nd 2022 with the court set to rule in the days or weeks following that Feb 2nd date. In NC state law requires that lawmakers have 14 days to redraw maps before the primary date. The bill has been sent to N.C. Governor Roy Cooper who has 10 days to sign it or veto it.

What Are The Dates Right Now?

In North Carolina, the statewide primary is currently set for Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

What Happens If HB 605 Is Signed Into Law?

The primaries would be rescheduled to June 7th 2022, with candidate filing from March 24 to April 1.

More information is expected sometime next week.

UPDATE 1/28/22 2:00pm | Today Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed HB 605 to move the state’s 2022 primary to June. For now, the primary will remain on March 8th 2022.