Editorials

Restore Wake County’s election maps

The members of the General Assembly have gone home, but the mischief of its Republican leaders continues to bedevil Wake County. The mischief is, of course, the legislature’s blatant overreach in changing voting districts for Wake County’s school board and Board of County Commissioners elections.

Fortunately, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the whole mess earlier this month and declared the new voting maps unconstitutional. That should have marked the end of the matter for now. But any simple solution continues to be complicated by efforts to distort the election process. Wake voters now face utter confusion about how they will be voting for the government bodies that are closest to them.

Traditionally, the legislature would replace the unconstitutional maps with new versions that meet legal muster. But with lawmakers gone until January and no prospect of their being called back for a special session, the legislature will not be drawing new maps.

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, who were thoroughly rebuked by the appeals court ruling, are typically not chastened. They’re saying there’s not time to make new maps, so use their illegal ones.

U.S. Chief District Court James C. Dever III, whose misguided reading of the law upheld the changes struck down on appeal, now says he may draw new maps if the legislature or state elections officials won’t.

Wake County doesn’t need election maps hastily drawn by a judge, especially one who has already erred regarding the legality of the maps. Wake County had a fair and familiar way of electing its countywide boards before the legislature tried to tip the scales. The former system should be restored for the Nov. 8 election.

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