NC lawmakers and NAACP speak out after 2 districts deemed unconstitutional

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A federal ruling could change voting districts across North Carolina.

“This is simply one victory in a huge war,” a NAACP representative said at a press conference Saturday.

Previous coverage: Judges strike down 2 North Carolina congressional districts

In 2011, state lawmakers created 13 districts.

Five years later, a panel of federal judges is striking down two congressional districts saying race played a role in drawing the lines.

“This is an affirmation of the claims we’ve made,” said Irving Joyner with the North Carolina NAACP.

The districts are the 12th in Greensboro, and the 1st in our area, covering parts of Wilson, Durham and Henderson.

“North Carolina has created apartheid districts which African Americans and Latinos have been stacked and packed into specific districts,” Joyner said.

Attorneys for the state argued that race wasn’t the predominant motive for forming either district.

Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), Chairmen of the House and Senate Redistricting Committees, released the following joint statement Friday evening:

“We are surprised and disappointed by the trial court’s eleventh hour decision that throws an election already underway into turmoil. Should this decision be allowed to stand, North Carolina voters will no longer know how or when they will get to cast their primary ballots in the presidential, gubernatorial, congressional and legislative elections. And thousands of absentee voters may have already cast ballots that could be tossed out. This decision could do far more to disenfranchise North Carolina voters than anything alleged in this case. We are confident our state Supreme Court made the right decision when it upheld the maps drawn by the General Assembly and approved by the Obama Justice Department, and we will move swiftly to appeal this decision.”

Because the districts have been ruled unconstitutional, the judges say the districts must be redrawn.

“The NAACP does not think that the General Assembly should be the responsible party for redrawing the districts,” said the representative of the NAACP on Saturday.

Joyner told WNCN he would like to see, “the replacement of the legislature with people who have a respect for the constitution.”

The judges ordered lawmakers to come up with new boundaries by February 19. The state could seek a delay with an appeals court.

North Carolina primaries are set for March 15.

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