The 2021 City Council elections in Greensboro appear to be off to an early start with candidates announcing their intention to run.

But that start may turn out to be much earlier than it now seems.

All nine seats on the Greensboro City Council, including mayor, are up for election in 2021, but it may be that the 2021 election won’t be held until 2022.

North Carolina Executive Director of Elections Karen Brinson Bell included in her recommendations to the North Carolina State Board of Elections this week that the 2021 municipal elections in the state be held in 2022 due to the delay in receiving Census data necessary for redistricting.  The US Census Bureau has reported that the completed Census figures will be available by Sept. 30.  Since filing for the Greensboro City Council races is in July, that would prohibit any redistricting based on the 2020 Census until after the election.

However, the decision on when to hold elections is not up to Bell or the State Board of Elections.

Any change in state law would have to be approved by the North Carolina state House and Senate, which means it would need the support of President Pro Tem of the state Senate Sen. Phil Berger and Berger’s office did not appear overly impressed with the recommendation from Bell.

According to Bell, moving the municipal elections to 2022 would allow municipalities to address redistricting.  It would reduce voter confusion and reduce municipal expenses.

After Bell’s recommendation Berger’s senior policy counsel, Bent Woodcox, tweeted, “… It’s exhausting having an elections board that is constantly in a panic mode.  Calm down.  There’s a long time until the next election.  There will be plenty of time to make the necessary changes.”

However, to those who have already launched their 2021 campaigns, it may not seem like such a long time to the next election, and knowing whether that will be held in November 2021 or November 2022 seems like information they could use as soon as possible.