A coalition of N.C. groups is poised to file suit over new Republican-drawn voting districts as early as next month, a move that could delay the 2012 primary elections.
The groups, including the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and Democracy North Carolina, are waiting to see if the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court approves the plans drawn by GOP lawmakers.
The deadline for Justice to rule on new congressional and legislative voting districts is Nov. 2.
"Our organization is concerned about the way the plans are essentially segregating and promoting segregation of voters in ways not consistent with the Voting Rights Act," says Bob Hall, director of Democracy North Carolina.
A challenge has been expected ever since lawmakers approved the plans over the objections of critics.
"I don't think it's any big secret that we’re going to challenge the maps," says Chris Ketchie, a policy analyst for the Southern Coalition. "The only secret is how we’re going to challenge them."
Legal challenges delayed N.C. elections in 1998 and 2002. And no congressional district in the country has been litigated more than Democrat Mel Watt's 12th, the source of four cases that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.