The public has already seen a handful of potential redistribution cards – which could be used in every North Carolina election from 2022 to 2030 – but on Friday, a senior redistribution official filed official bills for the cards that reduced different single card options.
Republican Senator Ralph Hise tabled two bills on Friday: one for the map that will determine the 50 seats that make up the North Carolina Senate, and the other for North Carolina’s 14 seats in the United States House of Representatives.
The NC House’s 120-seat map is at least expected to be released by Monday, according to the meeting’s agenda on the legislature’s website, but it could also be released before then. The House could also come up with a competing version of a congressional map, different from the bill Hise tabled on Friday.
GOP leaders had previously released half a dozen different draft cards for the Congress card, each different in some way, but all would likely lead to strong Republican majorities in the state’s Congressional delegation for years. future.
Democratic politicians have criticized these draft cards as being heavily gerrymandered – comments echoed by several dozen speakers in public hearings held by the legislature last week after releasing the drafts for the public to consider.
The statewide vote is divided almost evenly – in the 2020 presidential race, Republican Donald Trump won just under 50% of the vote and Democrat Joe Biden won just under 49% – but any congressional cards GOP leaders came up with would likely give their party nine, 10, or even 11 of the state’s 14 congressional seats.
The card Hise tabled on Friday was not one that was shown to the public ahead of the public hearings, although it appears to be almost identical to one of the cards that was.
Analysis of the new map by the Dave’s Redistricting App website, using election data from the 2016 and 2020 elections, shows that the map would likely produce a 10-4 split in favor of Republicans if the voting patterns of North Carolina remains largely the same. The map would have eight secure Republican seats, three secure Democratic seats, and three competitive seats; two would lean to the right and one would lean to the left.
It also has an unincorporated district in the area between Charlotte and Asheville – a feature common to many GOP proposals, which The News & Observer previously reported has led to much speculation that it is intended to be a seat. designed for the Speaker of the House, Tim Moore. for congress.
It was not immediately clear whether the new version released on Friday had similar underlying statistics.
See the maps
The following is the Congress Map of Hise, officially referred to as CST-13:
The following is the map of the NC Senate of Hise, officially called SST-13:
Gerrymandering complaint filed
About an hour after the cards were filed on Friday, the NAACP and the government anti-gerrymandering Common Cause watchdog group held a press conference announcing that they had just filed a lawsuit asking the courts to intervene in the process, even before that the legislator can vote on any Plans.
The last time Republican lawmakers drew new maps after the census, in 2011, those maps were overturned as unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. The cards that replaced them were quashed as unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering.
These legal battles lasted most of the decade. In the end, the 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 elections in North Carolina were all conducted using unconstitutional cards. The challengers want to avoid something similar this decade, hence the lawsuit before the cards are even enacted.
“North Carolina cannot handle another decade of unconstitutional cards,” said Allison Riggs, co-executive director of the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “The harm this does to our democracy is one whose ramifications we have felt for 10 years. It’s too much, and we’re going to start fighting today.
Riggs has led anti-gerrymandering lawsuits here in the past and is one of the attorneys now representing the NAACP and Common Cause – which was the group behind the 2019 successful gerrymandering lawsuits.
The lawsuit does not target the specific cards filed Friday, but rather the process in general.
Republican lawmakers have said they haven’t used any racial or political data to draw the cards, and some Democrats have questioned the decision not to use racial data. They say it will hurt the ability of black voters in North Carolina to elect politicians to represent them.
The lawsuit calls on a judge to prevent the legislature from passing maps now and delaying the 2022 primary election so there is enough time to begin the redistribution process this fall under new rules.
Hise said the Southern Coalition for Social Justice “has sued us before for using race, and now they are suing us for not using race. The only constant here is to find an excuse to sue for partisan advantage, however contradictory it may be, and they do so before the cards have even been considered by a legislative committee.
The House and Senate redistribution committees are both scheduled to meet on Monday, with the Senate at 9 a.m. and the House at 2 p.m.
The public will be able to attend, but they are unlikely to be able to comment. Committee members will be able to discuss the cards and suggest potential adjustments for the committee to consider.
It is possible that the committees will also decide to go ahead and vote on Monday. Or a vote can take place later in the week. However, it is unlikely to stretch for too long, as leaders have long said they want to get it over with in early November, as the filing of candidatures for the 2022 election is in early December.
Once the committees pass the cards, they will go to the House and Senate for approval, where Republican majorities in both chambers are likely to adopt any cards from the committees.
And that will be the end of the process. Unlike most bills in North Carolina, the governor is prohibited from vetoing redistribution cards. Unlike the state budget or other high-profile issues, Democrats have very little influence over the redistribution since Democratic Governor Roy Cooper cannot threaten a veto to force Republicans to negotiate with lawmakers in his. left.
This story was originally published October 29, 2021 4:14 pm.