Federal court orders N.C. to redraw districts, hold new elections

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A federal court has ordered North Carolina lawmakers to design new legislative districts by March and hold another election in 2017.

The order came down on Tuesday, and it’s a follow-up to a ruling from this summer.

A three-judge panel said race played too much of a factor in the state’s current legislative map.

The order highlights 28 districts it said are unconstitutional and need to be redrawn.

That means lawmakers will have to go back to the drawing board, reconfigure those highlighted districts and hold a new election.

East Carolina University political science professor Carmine Scavo said the recently elected state legislators will have to run again if they represent one of the 28 districts deemed unconstitutional, meaning they will need to hold another primary campaign and raise money all over again.

Scavo said changing the 28 districts could lead to a domino effect, and the entire state may have to hold special elections.

“There’s the state of North Carolina, right, and they’re all these districts in the state of North Carolina,” said Scavo. “You change one; you got to change the one next to it. If you change the one next to it then you’re probably going to have to change the one next to that. And all these things interact with each other. It’s very difficult to make these changes in these districts without affecting all of the districts.”

Scavo said the legislature will be in session in January so no taxpayer money will have to go toward a special session. However, Scavo did say it will cost millions of dollars to hold another election.

These legislative maps have nothing to do with the congressional maps lawmakers redrew earlier in the year.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear that case Monday.

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