NC judges throw out state voting districts as unconstitutional gerrymandering

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) — A North Carolina trial court has rejected state legislative district maps, saying lawmakers took extreme advantage from drawing districts to help elect a maximum number of Republicans.

A panel of judges struck down the maps Tuesday, in a 357-page ruling that courts can step in to decide when partisan advantage goes so far it diminishes democracy.

The maps were drawn in 2017 to replace previous maps, drawn in 2011, that had also been ruled unconstitutional. Both sets of maps were drawn by North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature.

Republicans argued there’s no clear way for judges to know what kinds of redistricting are unacceptable. Democrats and their allies said the districts were so gerrymandered they unconstitutionally insulated politicians from changing voting behavior.

Common Cause and other plaintiffs asked the court to order half the House districts and 21 of 50 Senate maps redrawn quickly.

An appeal is expected and the outcome could be months away. The state Supreme Court’s composition is 6-1 in favor of Democrats.

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