Federal judges rule NC must redraw ‘illegally gerrymandered’ voting maps set by GOP

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Demonstrators made sure their voices were heard by state lawmakers at the General Assembly as lawmakers returned to Raleigh Wednesday for the start of a special session.

They voiced concerns about some proposals for how judges could be picked across North Carolina, but also celebrated a decision by a panel of federal judges who ruled North Carolina’s Congressional maps are unconstitutional.

Now, those on the other side plan to appeal and that means it could still be a little while before North Carolinians know who they will be voting for in Congressional elections.

“We’ve always felt that partisan politics has no place in redistricting,” said Bob Phillips, Executive Director at Common Cause North Carolina.

Common Cause North Carolina is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit where the judges ruled the maps were drawn to favor Republicans.

“This map that was struck down by the court was the most extreme partisan gerrymander that we saw in the 2016 elections,” said Dustin Chicurel-Bayard with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “It’s not fair to the people of North Carolina to have those sorts of districts.”

“Obviously, I don’t agree with the ruling,” said Rep. David Lewis, (R) House Elections Chairman. “We do intend to appeal the ruling.”

The courts had ruled that a previous congressional map relied too heavily on race. This time, the judges ruled there was too much focus on politics and gave lawmakers until January 29 to present new maps.

“These are not in fact guaranteed to elect someone from one party or the other,” said Lewis. “So, I think it’s an extreme stretch and hopefully the Supreme Court will see how disruptive this is.”

Others said this renews calls for non-partisan redistricting.

“Get partisan politics out of the process,” said Phillips. “You’ll have a better system.”

Primary elections for the Congressional races are slated to be held in May.

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