Yesterday, federal court judges announced that they find North Carolina’s legislative districts to be so racially biased that they will require the state to redo its elections next year, rather than in two years. The Tar Heel State will have to redraw 28 of its legislative districts. Earlier this summer, the court found that state Republicans had unconstitutionally used race as a determinant in redrawing the current district boundaries that were established in 2011.
This latest ruling orders redistricting to be completed by March 15, 2017, with a special election to follow in November 2017, rather than 2018. Legislators elected under the current district plan in this most recent election of November 2016 will be forced to run again in the newly redrawn districts. The State argued unsuccessfully that legislators recently elected should be allowed to serve out a full two-year term in office, however those in districts that will be redrawn under the new plan will only serve a one-year term. Only legislators in redrawn districts have to run again.
This could mean a threat to the Republican-heavy representation that resulted from the November 2016 election.