NC primary remains in limbo; all eyes on Supreme Court

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The next move in the NC redistricting battle could come as soon as Tuesday.

The North Carolina primary remains in limbo.

The redistricting crisis resulting from a recent federal court ruling threatens to put the March 15 vote on hold.

Lawmakers have been ordered to draw new voting maps by Feb. 19.

We may know more specifics Tuesday, but as it stands Monday night, two of North Carolina's primary congressional races next month could be postponed if state lawmakers can't beat the deadline to redraw those disputed voting maps.

All day long Monday, in a sparsely attended hearing room inside the legislature, lawmakers heard from voters on how to redraw the state's 1st and 12th congressional districts -- deemed illegal by a federal court.

"Do the right thing," said Brian Fitzsimmons, Wake County Democratic Party chairman. "The right thing being drawing these districts the way they should've been drawn in the first place."

The two top Republicans who led the charge to redraw the maps in 2011, Sen. Bob Rucho and State Rep. David Lewis, were unable to convince a federal appeals court that the maps they drew aren't racially gerrymandered -- stacking in black voters to dilute African-American voting power.

"We continue to believe these districts were drawn fair and legal," said Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party. "In accordance with both the existing state and federal statute as well as the state and federal constitution."

Rucho and Lewis want U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to delay the appeals court ruling that ordered the state to redraw the maps by this Friday.

"Please do not buckle to this judicial tyranny," said Jay Delancey of the NC Voter Integrity Project. "I ask you to charge ahead with the March primaries."

But some Democrats want the state to postpone the primaries in the disputed districts from March to May.

"I think clearly there's enough time to do it," said N.C. Rep. Floyd McKissick Jr. "The technology is there to redraw these maps in a matter of days. It's just a matter of using the criteria prescribed by the court to draw them in a legal way."

And Tuesday, lawmakers will meet here again to discuss what criteria they can legally use to draw those districts.

Those new maps are due by Friday. That is, if Chief Justice Roberts decides not to delay the federal court's ruling.

We could see a decision from Justice Roberts as early as Tuesday afternoon.

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