Law and order groups ask court to let them file

By RICK CURL
Senior staff writer
Posted 1/14/22

The battle between Democrats and Republicans over the redrawing of congressional maps rages on. As a result, the filing for elections not involved in the legal wrangling sits on the …

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Law and order groups ask court to let them file

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The battle between Democrats and Republicans over the redrawing of congressional maps rages on. As a result, the filing for elections not involved in the legal wrangling sits on the sidelines.

State associations representing North Carolina’s sheriffs, clerks of Superior Court and district attorneys asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to allow filings in non-legislative races to resume in some manner.

Executive vice president and general counsel for the North Carolina Sheriff’s Office, Edward Caldwell, said the three groups are simply trying to move the process forward for those unaffected by redistricting maps.

“The filing period had already opened on Monday, Dec. 6 at noon and it got suspended at the end of the day on Wednesday, Dec. 8,” Caldwell said. “That threw the process into somewhat of a disorderly situation because sheriffs were filing, DA’s were filing, clerks were filing and others. They knew the window was that Monday at noon until a week later Friday at noon.”

The associations are not seeking to intervene in any legislative race, nor are they asking for two separate primary election dates and say they are not challenging the court’s order setting the new primary date for May 17.

Instead, according to the brief filed Tuesday, they are asking the Supreme Court to reconsider it’s order suspending filing for non-statewide local elected offices and for races among candidates vying for sheriff, district attorney and clerk of Superior Court.

“Staying the filing period has caused undue upheaval for candidates for public offices whose elections are not impacted by the 2021 (redistricting) plan,” the brief said.

In the motion, the three associations are asking the Supreme Court to open up the filing period immediately for the affected elections for eight days to conclude the usual 10-day filing period that began on Dec. 6 or for the court to immediately institute a new filing period.

Whether or not the motion is granted depends solely on the court’s justices and Caldwell says it’s anyones guess as to how the court will ultimately rule.

“We certainly are counting on the Supreme Court to allow the motion and to provide the relief we have requested,” Caldwell said. “The chances of them doing that, there’s only seven people in the world that know the answer and it’s the seven Supreme Court justices.”

Some Republicans expressed concerns the seven justices ­— four Democrats and three Republicans — will vote strictly along party allegiances. Caldwell doesn’t believe that will be the case.

“I have no reason at all to believe that any of the justices will allow party affiliation to infiltrate their decision,” he said. “They all took an oath of office to uphold the constitution just like the sheriffs and law enforcement officers do. We have ultimate faith those seven justices will uphold their oath, which is to uphold the constitution and follow precedent and so forth, and they will do so without any partisan interference.”

Rick Curl can be reached at rcurl@mydailyrecord.com or 910-230-2038.

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