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Panel Rules Wake County Districts Will Remain In Place

State judges ruled Friday that primary elections in four Wake County legislative districts can go forward next month, despite a challenge to the boundaries that were redrawn over the past year.  The three-judge panel at Wake County Superior Court in Raleigh said that with candidate filing complete and the election just a few weeks away, it was too late to halt the vote. 

But the judges also gave hope to those challenging the boundaries, saying they're likely to prevail when the case is decided.   

A federal court last year ordered state legislative districts redrawn, saying new districts created by the Republican-led General Assembly were illegal racial gerrymanders. The suit by the state NAACP and social justice groups argues that Republican lawmakers went too far in redrawing the four Wake County Districts.

Rep. David Lewis, who chaired the redistricting committee, accused Democrats of trying to disrupt the election and applauded the ruling.

“Wake County voters will vote in clean, compact, and competitive races this fall. I am confident the General Assembly will ultimately prevail against these claims," he said in a statement.

Allison Riggs of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice is the lawyer representing the NAACP and other groups. She said in a statement:

"We are gratified that the court recognized that the legislature likely acted unconstitutionally when it unnecessarily redrew several Wake County House Districts.  We will aggressively litigate this case to [a] final resolution to ensure there are fair districts in place by the time voters go to the ballot box in 2020. "