No delay for North Carolina primary

January 20, 2012 3:29:05 PM PST
North Carolina's primary election will go on as scheduled. Friday, a three judge panel shot down a group's request to delay the May 8 vote.

That group was hoping for the delay as their lawsuit against Republican-drawn congressional maps lingers.

The state NAACP released a statement accusing the court of not delaying the primary because it would cost the state too much money. The fight over the redistricting maps will continue.

"Bottom line is simple. The election moves forward," said Sen. Bob Rucho, (R) Mecklenburg County.

The delay would give several plaintiffs, including the NAACP, time to fight Republican-drawn redistricting maps they say would re-segregate the state and diminish the impact of black voters.

"Don't underestimate the magnitude of the harm documented here and please don't allow the elections to proceed before the plaintiffs have had an opportunity for ruling on the merits of the claim," said NAACP attorney Anita Earls.

"The evidence that we forecast in our affidavits, show that race was not the predominant factor in drawing these districts, without question," said Alexander Peters, with the state Attorney General's Office.

The three judge panel denied an injunction, but added this.

"It would be incorrect to interpret this ruling as implying a lack of merit to the plaintiff's challenges in the plans," said Hon. Paul Ridgeway. "Nor would it be correct to interpret this decision as minimizing the harm that can be associated with governmental acts that tend to stigmatize and separate citizens by the color of their skin."

The state NAACP's attorney says she's encouraged by the judge's words.

"You heard, as we did, that they thought there was substantial merit to the claims," said Earls.

The plaintiffs vow to continue fighting the maps, possibly all the way to the State Supreme Court.

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