Top NC Democrat says ‘absoluteness of lawsuits’ if Republican redistricting maps adopted

Politics

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The state Senate’s Democratic leader said Monday there is an “absoluteness of lawsuits” if the maps Republicans proposed in the redistricting process are adopted, as lawmakers began a series of public hearings.

Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake County) said the proposed maps Republicans have drawn for use beginning in next year’s elections lack fairness.

“Short of a lawsuit, there are very few things left to do,” he said. “There is a possibility, and the great probability, in fact, I’d say the absoluteness of lawsuits, if the maps that we’ve seen so far are the ones that are enacted.”

It was still unclear Monday whether any of the proposed maps Republicans have posted online are ones they intend to consider making changes to and ultimately voting on whether to adopt. Click here to view the maps.

Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell), who is one of the chairs of the Senate’s Redistricting Committee said Monday’s public comment session on the Congressional maps was for maps that are “thus far available.”

Rep. Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), who is leading the process on the House side, said, “In terms of, have we seen the final one? That’s what this process is for. That’s what the committee process is for. So, we’ll see if changes are made.”

Following the 2020 Census, state legislators have to redraw the electoral districts for both Congress and the North Carolina General Assembly.

Because of the state’s population growth, North Carolina will gain a seat in the U.S. House, bringing the total to 14.

As Republicans nationally look to retake control of Congress in 2022, North Carolina could provide them an opportunity to gain seats. The state currently has eight Republicans in Congress and five Democrats.

The proposed maps Republicans have submitted could lead to Republicans likely winning as many as 11 seats. Maps proposed by Democrats are more likely to lead to a 7-7 split, according to an analysis conducted by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.

The organization has been assigning letter grades from A to F for the proposed maps, giving Democrats A grades on their maps for fairness and giving the Republicans grades ranging from C to F.

Andy Jackson, director of the Civitas Center for Public Integrity said he doubts that any of the maps posted so far include the districts Republicans actually want to adopt.

“Just from eyeballing those maps. I really don’t suspect that any of the ones we have up right now are really ‘the map’ that’s going to be debated and amended,” Jackson said.

One of the maps would split Wake County into three districts and Mecklenburg County into four districts. The counties are so large that they must be split, but Democrats have proposed only splitting them into two districts.

Joselle Torres, communications manager for the non-partisan Democracy North Carolina, said the proposed maps raise concerns about “communities of color that traditionally vote for Black candidates, losing the opportunity to have representation that they’ve picked.”

“Community members are calling for it to not be either cracked or packed in large metropolitan areas like Charlotte, like the Triad area,” Torres said.

Jackson said he thinks Republicans would have trouble defending a map that gives their party a likely 11-3 advantage.

“The one that has tendrils going into downtown Charlotte, I don’t expect that to be the map. I think that was a senator, essentially, experimenting,” said Jackson.

Rep. Caldwell said he expects the General Assembly to vote on final versions of the maps next week.

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