Court will not reconsider unconstitutional election map ruling in Wake County

Durham, NC — On July 26, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit denied the petition for rehearing en banc filed by the Wake County Board of Elections in litigation over the method of electing the School Board and County Commission. This decision means that the lower court must now implement the Fourth Circuit’s earlier ruling that the General Assembly’s redistricting plans for the Wake County Board of Education and Board of County Commissioners are unconstitutional and elections should not proceed in 2016 using those plans.

Earlier this month, the appeals court struck down two North Carolina laws that dramatically restructured those boards for partisan reasons. Reversing the district court, which upheld the General Assembly’s laws in February, the Fourth Circuit ruled that the plans unconstitutionally deviated from the “one person, one vote” guarantee in the federal and state constitutions. The Fourth Circuit entered immediate judgment for the plaintiffs, and stated that, “We see no reason why the November 2016 elections should proceed under the unconstitutional plans we strike down today.”

Anita Earls, executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, which represented plaintiffs in these actions, said of the ruling: “On behalf of my clients who have been steadfast in the long and hard fight to vindicate their rights, I am pleased that we are now in a position to return to the prior constitutionally-drawn districts system for both Boards.”

To view the court documents, click here.