North Carolina Democrats, Republicans react to state court ruling on new voting maps

Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 6:01 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Hours after a panel of North Carolina judges approved a finalized set of voting maps, the more than 30-page ruling was under review by both the Republican and Democratic parties, including the Lenoir County Democratic Party.

“The maps being presented are an improvement over the previous set of maps,” Chair Jimmy Cochran said. “But the maps still have the effect of diluting the Black voting power.”

Democrats, including Gov. Roy Cooper, criticized the state Senate map.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, said Wednesday’s ruling is “nothing short of egregious.”

“The trial court’s decision to impose a map drawn by anyone other than the legislature is simply unconstitutional and an affront to every North Carolina voter whose representation would be determined by unelected, partisan activists,” Moore said in a statement.

The state House and Senate maps were approved, but for the congressional plan, the panel went with what outside experts drew, known as the interim congressional plan as recommended by the special masters in a court document provided by WRAL.

Decree from the North Carolina trial court on redistricting maps
Decree from the North Carolina trial court on redistricting maps(WRAL)

“The congressional map, for the US House of Representatives, the superior court ruled that they will be using the map drawn by the special master appointed by the court,” Dr. Peter Francia, East Carolina University political science professor explained.

The redistricting process that happens every ten years would draw immediate pushback from organizations claiming the district lines drawn by state legislators are not made fairly for voters, giving one party an advantage over the other.

“When we say political, usually one party is trying to gain an advantage over the other by drawing the district lines to their advantage,” Francia said. “Whenever there’s a charge that the maps are diluting the strength of racial minorities in North Carolina, we’re usually specifically talking about African Americans.”

Cochran added that too many “Black votes,” in the same area have the effect of “diluting the vote.”

“It makes it so, for instance, if you put all the Black folk in one district, then, of course, we can’t vote in other districts and that skews the maps,” Cochran said.

It’s not uncommon for courts to bring in experts to help fix maps, according to Francia.

“It’s an effort to try and make sure that the district lines are legal and follow both state constitution and the U.S. Constitution.”

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice announced it filed an emergency appeal on Wednesday, saying while the trial court’s bipartisan decision, upon recommendation of the special masters, did alter the North Carolina General Assembly’s remedial congressional map, it issued a “disappointing decision to approve their unconstitutional state legislative maps without modification.”

Sen. Berger (R-Rockingham) released the following statement:

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