Black voters sue to strike down NC Senate map as racially gerrymandered
North Carolina Republican state legislators redrew the district lines for the state legislature, as well as the state’s 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, earlier this year
RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - NBC affiliate in Raleigh WRAL reported Monday that the first of what’s expected to be multiple lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s new voting districts was filed Monday, alleging that the new state Senate maps discriminate against Black voters.
“Despite having ample evidence of racially polarized voting and a history of discrimination in the ‘Black Belt counties’ of northeastern North Carolina, and an obligation under the Voting Rights Act to analyze that evidence before drawing districts, the North Carolina General Assembly adopted a Senate plan that unlawfully deprives Black voters of the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice,” the lawsuit says.
Neither Senate Republican leaders nor the state elections board, whose leaders are also named in the lawsuit, immediately responded to requests for comment.
New maps were only redrawn this year because the previous maps, drawn in 2021, were thrown out as unconstitutionally gerrymandered last year.
Republican leaders repeatedly said they didn’t use racial data when drawing the new maps this year, so therefore they couldn’t have discriminated against Black voters. The lawsuit is not a surprise, however. Democratic lawmakers said repeatedly during the redistricting process that the new maps were racially gerrymandered, and on Monday they celebrated the lawsuit.
“During the latest round of redistricting, Senate Democrats made repeated attempts to warn our Republican colleagues of the blatant racial gerrymandering incorporated in their plan,” Sen. Dan Blue, D-Wake, said in a news release. “We provided multiple alternative maps to the Republican majority which would have complied with the Voting Rights Act and protected the constitutional rights of all North Carolinians. Unfortunately, they rejected simple fixes and decided to roll the dice hoping the courts wouldn’t have time to intervene before the 2024 election.”
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