- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on a panel of federal judges striking two congressional districts in North Carolina (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

North Carolina legislators say a ruling striking down two congressional districts based on racial considerations throws a primary election underway into turmoil and threatens to disenfranchise voters.

A panel of judges late Friday threw out the 1st and 12th Congressional Districts.

Rep. David Lewis and Sen. Bob Rucho helped shepherd the congressional boundaries through the General Assembly in 2011. They say the decision will be appealed. The judges want a new plan by Feb. 19, but that could be delayed.

Mail-in absentee voting for the March 15 primary already has started.

The state NAACP wasn’t a plaintiff in this case but has challenged the maps in state court. The group’s leader, the Rev. William Barber, says the decision was a huge victory “against 21st century racism and discrimination.”


7:25 p.m.

A panel of federal judges has struck down two North Carolina majority black congressional districts, saying race was the predominant factor in drawing those lines but state legislators lacked the justification for doing so.

The judges ruled late Friday that the 1st and 12th Districts violated the Constitution’s equal protection provision and must be redrawn. The judges ordered the General Assembly to come up with new boundaries within two weeks, although the state could seek a delay with an appeals court. Congressional primaries are set for March 15.

Republican lawmakers drew the two districts with majority black voting age populations, even though both districts were below 50 percent in the previous round of redistricting and voters had elected black lawmakers.

State attorneys argued that race wasn’t the predominant motive for forming either district.

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