RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Federal judges have rejected a request to hold special elections next March in state legislative districts once new lines are drawn to eliminate illegal racial gerrymandering.
The three-judge panel issued its order late Monday. It means the next General Assembly elections won't occur until November 2018.
But the judges did tell Republican lawmakers that they'll have to approve new House and Senate boundaries by this September - at least two months earlier than the time GOP leaders sought.
The three judges told lawmakers to draw the new maps by Sept. 1 but wrote that they would extend the deadline to Sept. 15 if lawmakers make enough progress on new boundaries in the next few weeks.