North Carolina’s congressional maps, which have been found to be unconstitutionally gerrymandered, will not be redrawn for the upcoming midterm elections, judges ruled on Sept. 4.
Citing ‘insufficient time,’ the panel of federal court judges ruled that the current map will be used for November’s elections.
“We conclude that there is insufficient time for this Court to approve a new districing plan and for the State to conduct an election using that plan prior to the seating of the new Congress in January 2019,” the ruling read.
In addition, the judges believed that redrawing the maps at this late date would affect the midterm elections.
“And we further find that imposing a new schedule for North Carolina’s congressional elections would, at this late juncture, unduly interfere with the State’s electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout,” the ruling further read.
Back in January, three judges unanimously struck down the state’s congressional map. They found the House of Representatives map to be in violation of the First and 14th Amendements as it unfairly favored the Republican Party.
This ruling remained the same on Aug. 27, when judges again found the map to be unconstitutional. Declining to hear an appeal case, the Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts for reconsideration in June.
Although the congressional map favors Republicans, North Carolina is considered to be one of the most unpredictable of the swing states.
Currently, Republicans hold 10 out of 13 of North Carolina’s House seats. In the 2016 elections, North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes went to President Donald Trump. Voters also elected a Republican senator, Wake Forest alumnus Richard Burr. However, in that same election cycle, North Carolina voted in Roy Cooper, a Democratic governor. Eight years earlier, former president Bararck Obama won North Carolina by a narrow margin of less than half of a percentage point.
Earlier in 2018, John Dinan, a professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs, predicted that the tight schedule would hinder the redrawing of the map.
“[Timing] is one of the reasons why a lot of analysts don’t believe that this congressional redistricting decision won’t take immediate effect,” Dinan told WGHP Fox 8 News, a television station in High Point.
When the original decision was reached in January, Dinan cited the fact that candidate filing occurs in February and the judges wanted the new maps drawn by that time.
After the Nov. 6 midterm elections, North Carolina will no longer be able to use the gerrymandered congressional map and a new map will be drawn.