Elections in many NC municipalities delayed to 2022 in bill

North Carolina

FILE – In this Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 file photo, a polling station signpost lies on the pavement, in Twickenham, England. The British government announced Tuesday May 11, 2021, contentious plans to toughen election voting rules by requiring photo identification at polling stations, a move it says will protect the democratic system against electoral fraud. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte, Raleigh and roughly three dozen other cities and towns in North Carolina would shift this fall’s municipal elections to early next year in legislation advancing in the state Senate to address Census Bureau delays.

The proposal addresses what to do about elections in municipalities where people live in wards or districts and elect specific council members. Those boundaries are redrawn each decade to reflect population changes. The 2020 Census data, however, won’t be ready until late summer or early fall, making redistricting impossible to complete to meet current election schedules in the municipalities.

The bill, approved by the Senate elections committee Thursday, tells these municipalities to revise districts by Nov. 17. Candidate filing would then be held in December or January, split between communities that can meet the deadline and those that announce they need more time.

All of these municipalities would have elections on March 8, 2022, which is also the date for state and federal primaries. Some municipalities also would have additional elections in April or May. The date depends on whether a federal election has a primary runoff.

The measure also addresses voting by people who register after the statewide primary but before the runoff, which will be the first or only election for some municipalities.

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