North Carolina sued over newly passed maps favoring GOP

Criminal Law

Barely 24 hours after their passage, North Carolina’s newly drawn maps are facing another legal complaint that will likely determine how much Republicans can expand their political clout over the coming decade in a state that is slowly becoming more blue.

An organization formed by Marc Elias, a prominent Democratic lawyer, announced Friday that a group of voters who successfully challenged previous North Carolina maps will now make a similar appeal in state court contesting the latest congressional maps. They will argue that the boundaries approved by Republicans on Thursday were drawn for political gain in a way that violates several provisions of the North Carolina Constitution.

The stakes are high, as Republicans currently hold an 8-5 edge over Democrats in the U.S. House and would likely expand their advantages substantially if the maps prevail.

During a virtual event on Twitter, Elias, founder of Democracy Docket, called North Carolina’s maps “a grotesque partisan gerrymander” and “indefensible.”

“The Republican Party has lost all shame,” Elias said. “I mean, in the 2010 (redistricting process and) after 2010, they were still pretending that they cared about democracy and about voting rights, and now they no longer pretend.”

Last week, voters and advocacy groups sued in Wake County court to block the timetable for passing state legislative maps, accusing Republicans of breaking rules aimed at ensuring Black voters can elect their desired candidates.

The new legal challenge announced on Friday focuses on partisan gerrymandering.

“Expert analysis confirms that the 2021 Plan is an intentional, extreme partisan gerrymander that dilutes Democratic votes and prevents Democratic voters from electing candidates of their choice,” the complaint says.

If the maps hold up in court, Republicans would likely win 10 or 11 of the 14 available congressional seats for the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. Because of sizable population growth in the state over the past decade, North Carolina was awarded an additional district. Just one of the 14 districts is considered highly competitive.

Voting rights groups and Democrats argue the maps are unfair, given that the state has become bluer in recent years, though former President Donald Trump won North Carolina in 2016 and 2020. They also accuse Republicans of diminishing the voting power of racial minorities, including Black and Hispanic residents.

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