RALEIGH, N.C. — Candidate filing for North Carolina's 2022 elections restarted Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after a Wake County court approved new redistricting maps for the state's congressional and legislative elections.
The filing period first started Dec. 6 but was halted by the North Carolina Supreme Court over legal challenges. The court earlier this month found that the maps were illegally gerrymandered, taking power from Democrats and Black voters.
A three-judge panel in Wake County court approved the new maps Wednesday, adopting the state House and Senate maps redrawn by the General Assembly and producing its own map for North Carolina's 14 seats in the U.S. House. The parties in the lawsuits quickly appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court, but that appeal was rejected late Wednesday night.
"We disagree with the interim Congressional map imposed by the Special Masters and are seeking a stay of that map, however, it’s time to move on and allow the filing period to begin tomorrow morning,” Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican, said in a statement Wednesday.
About ten hours after that final decision from the state Supreme Court, the State Board of Elections opened the doors of the James G. Martin Building at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, where filing began shortly before 8 a.m.
Rep. Deborah Ross, who represents part of Wake County in the U.S. House, was one of the first to file for reelection in Raleigh Thursday morning.
"I'm glad we got through the process, and I think we got a good result for the congressional maps," she said. "I am a veteran of redistricting wars. The first time I ran for office was in 2002 and the maps changed multiple times."
She said that now the maps are finalized and approved by the court, voters should look at their new districts to see where they are now.
"Please figure out what districts you live in, because some of the lines are confusing," she said.
Keith Smith was also one of the first to file Thursday. He is a Democrat running to be a District Court judge in Mecklenburg County.
"We had planned to file on December 6th and then everything happened, so the delay gave us a little more time to think," Smith said. "For me it's a new process. I've not filed for office before, so that was challenging."
Candidate filing will be open until noon on March 4. Early voting for the primary begins April 28 and the election is on May 17.