NC Supreme Court delays 2022 primaries to May

N.C. Supreme Court building in Raleigh- File photo

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Supreme Court ordered all of the state’s scheduled March 8 primaries to move to May 17, 2022, on Wednesday evening.

The order, which followed action earlier in the week from the N.C. Court of Appeals that first delayed filing in races for U.S. House of Representatives, N.C. Senate and N.C. House of Representatives, will send the case back to the three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court.

Notably, the order moved all of the scheduled primaries to May, not just those conducted under new districts following the General Assembly’s redistricting session last month.

Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), a co-chair of the Senate Elections Committee, said in response to the court’s order,  “The court didn’t even articulate a legal or factual basis for suspending elections. The Democrats on the Supreme Court want districts that elect more Democrats, so they’re blocking every election in the state until they get their way.”

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) said, “To throw this process into chaos in the middle of filing leaves North Carolinians with uncertainty ahead of the election. Despite this delay, we are confident that we will prevail at trial and our maps will stand.”

The state’s top elected Democrats – Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein – were pleased with the outcome.

The two filed an amicus brief with the top court before the order in support of the plaintiffs’ case, urging the justices to hear and decide the cases.

“Voters are stripped of their voices by technologically diabolical and unconstitutionally partisan districts,” Gov. Cooper said at the time.

Following the order, the governor said, “Today’s order restores faith in the rule of law and it is necessary for the Court to rule on the constitutionality of these unfair districts before the next election.”

“In a representative democracy, the voters choose their representatives,” said Attorney General Stein. “Partisan gerrymandering distorts our democracy by discriminating against certain voters based on their political views and allowing representatives to cling to power no matter the will of the voters.”

The order makes clear that all candidates who filed for office Monday through Wednesday will not need to file again. The court authorized the trial court to make any administrative decisions necessary in regards to timing, filing, and withdrawal of candidates.