RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Court of Appeals undid a decision it made earlier Monday that delayed candidate filing in the U.S. House and state House and Senate races for 2022.
The filing period was set to begin at noon but multiple lawsuits were filed in response to the new district maps approved by state lawmakers.
Just before 6 p.m., the Court of Appeals issued a new decision vacating its decision earlier in the day. Candidate filing can now reopen, barring some further action.
The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters filed one of the lawsuits aiming to get the maps thrown out, arguing Republicans had illegally gerrymandered them to give the party a significant advantage in winning most of the seats for the General Assembly and the U.S. House.
The NCLCV wants judges to declare the maps to be unconstitutional and proposed alternative maps to use instead.
Republicans have denied using partisan data in drawing the maps.
“While they may not have been looking at partisan data in the room, somebody was looking at partisan data outside of that room. And, these Republican map drawers clearly had an indication of what they were doing from a partisan standpoint,” said Scott Falmlen, a co-founder of Nexus Strategies and former executive director of the state Democratic Party. “Republican members chose their voters and they did not draw maps that allow the voters to choose who their representatives are.”
The Court of Appeals ordered Republican legislators to file a response by noon Thursday. The court said a ruling be made either after they file or after the deadline if there is no response.
Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus), one of the Republicans who led the redistricting effort in the Senate, tweeted Monday, “In less than three hours, a secret panel of three unidentified Court of Appeals judges was able to review nearly 1,000 pages challenging the maps of 184 districts, read the entire ‘record,’ and block candidate filing in every county in the state.”