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Community members criticize redistricting maps drawn by lawmakers

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 9:49 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A virtual public meeting took place in Greenville Tuesday to discuss redistricting in North Carolina.

This was the second of two public hearings scheduled by the House and Senate Redistricting Committees.

The hearings were held in Lenoir and Wilmington Monday and Tuesday, they were held in Charlotte in addition to Greenville.

Some residents who spoke at the hearing Tuesday say the redistricting process is a “sham,” and they feel there is no transparency with lawmakers to the public.

Republicans and Democrats have spent the past few weeks creating separate redistricting maps.

The state gained an extra congressional seat due to population gains, based on the 2020 census.

Residents say they are upset because they say the maps are politically and racially gerrymandered. They want the redistricting process to be more inclusive and fair.

A decade ago, North Carolina Republicans redrew their legislative districts and were accused of helping their party.

A federal court ruled that the maps illegally deprived black voters of their right to political representation. A state court later struck down Republican-drawn maps as based on pure partisanship.

North Carolina is a swing state, meaning the two major political parties have similar levels of support among voters.

But according to Democratic lawmakers, these new congressional district maps proposed by Republican lawmakers would give the GOP an 11-3 advantage in U.S. House seats by splitting Democrat-leaning counties into different districts to reduce their political power.

The legislature is controlled in both chambers by Republicans, who are in charge of redistricting.

The GOP-controlled legislature pledged not to use race or partisan data to draw the political lines.

But still, the maps that republicans are proposing would tilt heavily toward their party.

Several people who addressed lawmakers suggested implementing an independent redistricting committee that would be impartial and able to draw maps fairly.

These public hearings are the next step before the lawmakers begin voting on the plans by early November to use them starting with next year’s elections.

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