Wake Board of Elections meets following federal court’s ruling on district lines


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Wake County Board of Elections called an emergency meeting Monday to determine what to do following a federal court’s ruling concerning district lines.

In a 2-1 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the maps drawn by the Republican legislature violate the state and federal constitutional guarantees of one-person, one person.

Board members met in a closed session Monday with their attorney.

They face a new deadline from a federal judge who wants to hear from the Board of Elections by July 18.

“It’s not our call. The state statute is very clear on whose responsibility this falls on,” said board chair Brian Ratledge.

The responsibility of ensuring that Wake County’s citizens can vote for its county commissioners and school board members.

“I know that the public there’s a lot of talk of reverting back to an old map. But we don’t have the authority to do that,” Ratledge said.

Other, such as the State Board of Elections, the General Assembly or a federal judge, do have that authority, according to Mark Ezzell, Wake County Board of Elections member.

In 2013, the General Assembly redrew the Wake School Board districts and, in 2015, the county commissioner districts.

Both would have had nine board members.

But now that the courts say those maps can’t be used, the Wake County Board of Elections needs to tell the court what its next move will be.

And time is important as absentee ballots start going in the mail in early September.

“The law is very clear about what you do and we are following the law,” Ezzell said.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners had a Republican majority until the last election, when Democrats swept all the open seats in 2014. That meant all seven seats on the board were held by Democrats.

The Wake County Board of Elections will meet again Wednesday.

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