NC Supreme Court Rejects Republican Gerrymandered Voting Maps

NC Supreme Court Rejects Republican Gerrymandered Voting Maps

Some good news for Democrats out of North Carolina this week:

The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday struck down new voting maps Republicans passed in November and ordered them redrawn—a decision that could help Democrats in the 2022 election cycle and prevent Republicans from expanding their power in the U.S. House and the North Carolina General Assembly.

The high court issued a 4-3 decision split along party lines—overturning a lower-court decision last month that upheld the maps and resolving a question that has been hanging over the primary election, which had already been delayed so the court system could hear the challenge from voting groups.

The maps outlining congressional and legislative districts in the state strongly favored the GOP, with the party expected to win 10 or 11 of the 14 U.S. House seats up for grabs. The maps, drawn by the legislature’s GOP majority, also gave Republicans a better chance of securing veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate.

“When a districting plan systematically makes it harder for one group of voters to elect a governing majority than another group of voters of equal size, the General Assembly unconstitutionally infringes upon that voter’s fundamental right to vote,” the four registered Democrats on the state Supreme Court wrote in their order. The court ruled that Republicans must submit new voting maps to a lower court by 5 p.m. Feb. 18. The maps must then be approved by a three-judge panel by noon on Feb. 23. If the new legislative and congressional boundaries are not submitted in time, the judges would be tasked with selecting a plan.

The ruling was met by the typical criticisms we’ve heard from Republicans any time they lose a case like this, accusing the court of judicial activism and taking away their “freedoms.” The clock is ticking for the new districts to be finalized with primaries scheduled for May 17th.

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