I did a little digging (a favorite pastime) and discovered a couple interesting points about the timing of North Carolina’s marriage referendum, scheduled for the primary next year.

For starters, N.C. will be the fourth state to have a marriage amendment question on the primary ballot as opposed to the General Election ballot. The others: Missouri in 2004 (passed 71 percent), Louisiana in 2004 (passed 78 percent), and Alabama in 2006 (passed 81 percent).

Two other states have had off-year special elections on marriage amendments: Kansas in 2005 (passed 70 percent) and Texas in 2005 (passed 76 percent). The remaining 25 (or so) states that have OK’ed marriage amendments have done so on the General Election ballot.

These states are deep red and conservative, obviously, which accounts for the high pass rate. But it also seems that having a referendum on the primary ballot drives up the victory margin.

A second point: Every reporter (including myself) has written that the marriage amendment will be on the May ballot. That might not be the case, though. The amendment calls for “a statewide election to be held on the date of the first primary in 2012.” But thanks to inevitable redistricting litigation, there is a possibility that N.C.’s primary could be delayed beyond May, in which case the marriage referendum would get delayed with it.

An example: After the last round of redistricting in 2000, the 2002 primary was delayed until Sept. 10 due to litigation.