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NC judges weigh in on redistricting plans

Feb. 23. Updated. By Dave Yochum. A panel of North Carolina judges adopted yet another new map for districts statewide. It is different from the one drawn by Republican legislators, and already coming under fire. The judges also approved the state House and state Senate maps as part of the decision, but
not the US Congressional map.

“Today’s decision allows a blatantly unfair and unconstitutional State Senate map that may have been the worst of the bunch. That is bad for North Carolina because it strips voters of their voice in our democracy. Our elections should not go forward until we have fair, constitutional maps,” said Gov. Roy Cooper.

UPDATE 4 pm. NC House Speaker Tim Moore said he will appeal. “This court  has effectively taken a hammer to our state constitution and the rule of law and I will appeal this ruling with respect to the congressional map immediately on behalf of the voters,” he said.

Chaos for candidates

Sources in local GOP congressional campaigns said the issue still might not be settled, pointing to yet another possible new district combining part of Cabarrus County with part of Mecklenburg County.

In fact, the congressional map may be in effect only for the 2022 election.

Regardless, the redistricting mess has been chaotic for local candidates.

“The NC Supreme Court has caused tremendous uncertainty in the redistricting process by first interjecting itself during the candidate filing period then establishing new criteria and terminology to be used for drawing up new districts,” said former Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla, who was planning to run for a new Congressional district that included North Mecklenburg.

John Aneralla / Jason Benavides photo

What is ‘partisan fairness?’

The Republican legislators tried to accommodate their new directive by “painstakingly drawing” up new maps to adhere to what he believe are unconstitutional criteria, including the concept of “partisan fairness.”

“Today the Superior once again tried to accommodate the NC Supreme Court throwing out the Congressional maps and drawing their own creating even more confusion. This is what happens when judges try to make laws and not follow the law,” Aneralla said.

The NC Supreme Court previously threw out maps drawn by the Republican-led legislature, saying they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

Candidate filing will resume later this week in advance of primaries set for May 17—barring more appeals.