As lawsuits fly, Rowan Board of Elections still planning to re-open filing today

Published 12:03 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

SALISBURY — Despite fresh court rulings, the Rowan Board of Elections still plans to resume candidate filing today at 8 a.m.

The original candidate filing period for the 2022 election began Dec. 6 and was scheduled to end on Dec. 17. But the North Carolina Supreme Court halted the filing period and pushed back the date of the primary election from March 8 to May 17 due to ongoing litigation surrounding state legislative and congressional redistricting maps.

Candidate filing for local, legislative and congressional races will resume today and last until noon on March 4. Brenda McCubbins, executive director of the Rowan County Board of Elections, told the Post no alterations or halt to the filing period had been announced to county boards by close-of-business on Wednesday.

Candidates who have already filed and intend on running in that same district won’t need to refile, but the deadline to change prior filing is close-of-business on March 1. Candidates must submit a form to withdraw candidacy. The North Carolina Board of Elections says county boards of elections will cancel candidate filing for any candidates who no longer reside in the legislative district in which they initially filed.

For U.S. House members, candidates are not required to reside in the district they’re seeking for election. But candidates must be affiliated with the party for at least 90 days before filing a notice of candidacy.

Within a few days, the N.C. State Board of Elections says it will make available a search tool on its website to help voters and candidates determine the districts in which they reside.

In November, state lawmakers adopted new state and congressional district boundaries using 2020 Census data, but lawsuits alleged gerrymandering immediately after. The North Carolina Supreme Court in February ruled state courts could throw out district lines that secured a Republican advantage in a closely divided state. The ruling then directed the Republican-led General Assembly to redraw and submit maps last week and provide an explanation of how they calculated partisan fairness.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel accepted both remedial state House and Senate maps, but accepted a different congressional map. The N.C. Supreme Court late Wednesday night upheld the panel’s ruling

Under the map the three-judge panel accepted Wednesday, the entirety of Rowan will be part of the 8th district, which also covers all of Davidson, Stanly, Montgomery, Union and Anson counties and parts of Cabarrus and Richmond counties.

Currently, Rowan County is split into three N.C. House districts, with Republican representation including District 76’s Harry Warren, District 77’s Julia Howard and District 67’s Wayne Sasser. The new North Carolina House map splits Rowan into three districts again — 76, 77 and 83.

The North Carolina Senate map keeps Republican Carl Ford’s 33rd Senate District unchanged. If he wins re-election, he’ll be the state senator for Rowan and Stanly counties.

Warren, Ford and Howard all filed for re-election during the original filing period.

The new N.C. House District 83 includes the southwestern portion of Rowan County and the eastern area of Cabarrus County. The district doesn’t have an incumbent, and a number of Republicans have made bids for the seat in the 2022 election.

Earlier this month, the Rowan County Board of Elections approved an early voting schedule that will begin on April 28 and last until May 14.  Like the original plan adopted in December, the new one will include two Saturdays and one Sunday. From Monday to Friday, polls will be open 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. On April 30 and May 14, Saturdays, voting will be 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Voting hours on Sunday, May 1, will begin at 1 p.m. and span until 5 p.m.

In the event of additional orders from courts about congressional or legislative district boundaries or a change in the primary date, the board authorized the total hours and days remain unchanged, with only the dates adjusted.

Early voting sites will be at the Rowan County Board of Elections at 1935 Jake Alexander Blvd. West, the south branch of the Rowan Public Library at 920 Kimball Road in China Grove and the Rockwell American Legion building located at 8580 U.S. 52 in Rockwell.

Absentee by mail ballots will be mailed starting on March 28.

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About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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