NC legislature hears feedback on congressional maps
Answers to some common questions about the redrawn congressional districts and the new congressional primary on June 7:
Q. The legislature has gone home. Now what?
A. Since Chief Justice John Roberts will not halt the order to redraw the districts, the new map rests with the three-judge federal panel that made the order. It isn’t known how long the panel will take to decide whether to approve it. And the U.S. Supreme Court still could decide to hear the case.
In April, another three-judge panel in federal court will hear a lawsuit challenging the state’s legislative districts. And a legal challenge to the new congressional map is also possible.
For now, elections officials are urging people to plan to vote in both primary elections.
Q. What do you mean by both primaries?
A. The March 15 primary will continue as planned. There also will be a primary for just the congressional candidates on June 7.
Q. What if I vote on March 15? Will I still vote on my congressional race?
A. Yes. Those names will be on the ballot. Elections officials urge voters to go ahead and vote for congressional candidates on March 15, in the event that any court ruling requires the state to abandon plans for the June 7 primary. So vote the whole ballot. Any invalid race will not be certified.
Q. Where do I vote now?
A. Your voting place did not change with this action. The State Board of Elections website has a lookup that can identify your polling place is: nando.com/voters.
Q. Did my precinct change?
Q. If I already have an absentee ballot, should I vote in the listed congressional race?
A. Yes. If the new map stands, your congressional vote simply won’t be certified. The rest of the ballot is still valid. You will be sent a new ballot for the June 7 congressional vote.
Q. What if I’ve already submitted my absentee ballot?
A. Same answer.
Q. How do I find out what congressional district is under the new mapping?
A. Until the State Board of Elections has a chance to update its public voter information, you can get a good idea by zooming on this map: bit.ly/21eGiPB.
Q. I missed the deadline to register for the March 15 primary. Can I vote June 7?
A. Yes. You’ll get a chance to register for that. Dates will be announced.
Q. Is voter ID still in effect?
A. Yes. Get the requirements at nando.com/voterid.
Q. What will a second primary cost?
A. Hard to say. State Elections Director Kim Strach told a legislative committee that a standalone primary could cost just less than $10 million. But a statewide runoff also would have required a second round of voting, and that won’t happen now.
Q. Who’s paying for that?
A. The counties. And that could be a challenge for some. State Board of Elections General Counsel Josh Lawson says counties were supposed to budget for a second primary anyway. But he said that his office polled all 100 counties to ask whether their budgets could cover a second primary, and of the 99 that responded, 13 said they could handle it.
Q. What did last week’s special legislative session cost?
A. Again, hard to say exactly. The average cost to run the General Assembly while in session is about $42,000 a day. The full legislature met for two days (roughly $84,000), and a special redistricting committee met for two days before that.