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North Carolina votes to delay election pending Supreme Court decision

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 19, 2016 at 4:09 PM
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RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on North Carolina's election maps as a deadline draws near for them to be re-drawn for upcoming congressional races.

The North Carolina state House voted Thursday to push primary elections back to June 7. The change comes as state lawmakers await a Supreme Court decision on whether or not North Carolina will be required to re-draw two congressional districts that a three-judge panel deemed "racial gerrymandering."

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North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory petitioned the Supreme Court to stay the order so that this year's congressional primaries could move forward on schedule. However, this week came and went without a decision as the court mourned the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

While waiting for intervention from the Supreme Court, Republicans in the Statehouse drew up a new map that preserves the power balance between parties in North Carolina's congressional delegation. However, it separated many incumbents from large chunks of their constituencies, a move that sparked controversy.

The original court order only required the state to re-draw two congressional districts, both of which are currently represented by Democrats. This week's map prepared by House Republicans altered every one of North Carolina's 13 congressional districts.

The Supreme Court, however, has not been completely silent since Scalia's passing on Saturday. The justices unanimously denied a stay of execution on Wednesday for Travis Hittson, a Georgia death row prisoner.

The following day, the court issued orders allowing Solicitor General Don Verrilli Jr. to take part in a handful of upcoming arguments before the court.

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