State Supreme Court retention elections won't happen due to split decision

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's long-time method of electing members of the state Supreme Court will stand after justices split on the constitutionality of a new re-election option.

In an opinion issued Friday, justices tied 3-3 over a challenge to a law that allowed retention elections.

That 2015 law lets an incumbent, elected justice seek re-election to another eight-year term without a challenger. A statewide up-or-down vote called a "retention election" would determine whether the justice remains. About 20 states use such elections for appellate court seats.

Justice Bob Edmunds is the only justice facing re-election in 2016. He didn't participate in the decision.

The ruling means the June 7 primary for a state Supreme Court seat will be held. But it creates no precedent, meaning the issue could arise again.

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