Governor Roy Cooper is calling state lawmakers into a special session to redraw election maps. The unexpected announcement comes with the political boundaries having been struck down in the courts as illegal racial gerrymanders.
Cooper said this special session will run simultaneously with the legislative session already underway. The Governor cited a state statute in giving legislators two weeks to draw new boundaries.
“But at the end of the 14 days, if they haven't drawn the maps and they're still dragging their heels, then I think the court is fully entitled to step in and draw the map,” Cooper said.
While uncommon, judges have previously drawn new political maps following legal challenges.
Moments after the governor's announcement, Republican House member David Lewis called the special session a clear political stunt.
The special session is set to begin Thursday, however, lawmakers are not obligated to draw maps as he requests.
Cooper told reporters it's time new boundaries are drawn because the General Assembly has been operating under illegal lines since 2011.
The U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld a lower court ruling throwing out 28 legislative districts. That lower court could decide special elections under new boundaries should be held this fall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.