(The Center Square) — The North Carolina House on Wednesday approved a revised legislative redistricting map for House districts after the first map was rejected by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The court ruled on February 4 that the legislative maps approved in November were unconstitutional because they gave Republicans a political advantage.
Supreme Court justices gave lawmakers until 5 p.m. Friday to redraw the maps. A court panel must approve the maps by noon on February 23.
The House approved its new neighborhoods, 115-5, late Wednesday evening. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said the final proposal was the result of a bipartisan compromise.
“This agreement is the result of days of good faith discussions between House leaders of both parties,” Moore said.
The General Assembly must reconstruct district maps for the Legislative Assembly and Congress every 10 years, matching the release of US Census data. The 2020 census showed the state’s population increased by more than 888,000. The filing deadline for the state’s May primary election is Feb. 24.
House Minority Leader Robert Reives, D-Chatham, said the new map was consistent with the court’s ruling on partisan fairness. Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, said she wasn’t sure about that because they didn’t have enough time to compare the cards with the court order.
The revised maps remove some divisions in the majority Democratic urban counties: Guilford, Wake and Mecklenburg.
Harrison tabled an amendment to ensure majority-minority Wayne County voters can select the candidate of their choice, which she says is required under the Voting Rights Act. The law prohibits discrimination in redistricting.
The House struck down the amendment, but Harrison believes it would leave the state vulnerable to further lawsuits.
House Redistricting Speaker Rep. Destin Hall R-Caldwell argued the court ruled the state was not required to draw districts under the Voting Rights Act.
The court appointed three special masters to oversee the redrawing of the maps and advise the court. They could also draw their own maps for the court to review.
The Senate must now approve the map of the Chamber. The Senate also proposed a revised Senate map that the drafters said would give Democrats two additional districts. The two chambers must also agree on the Congress cards. Final votes on all three cards are expected on Thursday.
“During the process of drawing the corrective map, we decided to draw maps that performed well based on the requirements of the Supreme Court order and included as many competitive districts as possible,” said the Senator Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus.