North Carolina redistricting cases could offer map to others

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FILE – In this Monday, July 15, 2019 file photo, a state districts map is shown as a three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court presides over the trial of Common Cause, et al. v. Lewis, et al, in Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina has often been cited as an example of political gerrymandering. Now court rulings against its legislative and congressional districts also could become an example for other states. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Critics of political gerrymandering often point to North Carolina as an example. Now, court rulings against legislative and congressional districts there could become an example for other states.

State judges cited violations of North Carolina’s constitutional protections of free elections and speech. Many states have similar provisions in their constitutions. Legal analysts expect similar lawsuits could be filed elsewhere after the next round of redistricting following the 2020 census.

After the U.S. Supreme Court told federal judges to steer clear of political gerrymandering disputes, such cases in other states may hinge on whether judges there are willing to act as assertively as those in North Carolina.

Some advocates want permanent changes to drawing lines, such as by removing mapmaking power from legislators and giving it to independent commissions.

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