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home : state news : e-state news November 30, 2021

11/5/2021 5:39:00 AM
New District Maps Approved by General Assembly

Wayne Howard

The North Carolina General Assembly has approved new district maps for elections in the next decade. The NC House gave its approval Tuesday evening; the NC Senate passed the proposed new maps on Thursday. The Congressional district map that was chosen will keep Republicans in control of a significant majority of the state's Congressional seats and also provides a likelihood that the GOP will keep control of both houses of the NC General Assembly. potentially keep the courts involved in the process.

The maps show 50 State Senate districts, 120 for the NC House of Representatives, and 14 Congressional districts.

Democrats voted against all the proposed maps, but expressed their most anger at the one of new Congressional district lines that favor the GOP winning as many as 11 of the 14 districts -- significant because the state is almost evenly divided between registered Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

Several times in the last decade, courts have thrown out maps the General Assembly had approved after voting rights groups argued they were gerrymandered and unconstitutional. The lines drawn after the 2010 census were changed after the courts intervened. Before the courts ruled that some of the districts had to be redrawn, Republicans held 10 of the 13 NC districts in Congress.

The maps as originally approved after the 2010 census gave Republicans a veto-proof super-majority in the NC General Assembly from 2012-2018. The courts ruled the maps unconstitutional and they were redrawn. In the 2020 election, new maps kept GOP majorities in the House and Senate, but the Congressional districts went eight Republicans and five Democrats.

While the new districts are certain to be challenged in court, the Republican dominated US Supreme Court issued a landmark 5-4 decision in 2019 - in a case involving North Carolina - that federal judges should stay out of state redistricting issues. That ruling likely means that the legal fight over the new maps will be in the North Carolina Supreme Court. Going into the 2020 election, Democrats held a 6-1 majority in the state's highest court, but Republicans cut that to 4-3 in last year's voting.'

The proposed new maps will keep Lincoln County's state house seat and keep Lincoln and Cleveland together for a state senate seat, but the new map does change which portion of Gaston County is in that district--switching the northeastern portion into a Gaston County seat and moving the northwestern portion including Cherryville into the same district as Lincoln & Cleveland.

The new Congressional district map gives state representative Tim Moore the state's newly added district. The new 13th district will include Cleveland County, where Moore lives, Gaston, Rutherford, Polk, Burke and McDowell. The northern and extreme western portions of Mecklenburg County are also in that district.

Lincoln County will be part of the 12th district, which will also include all of Catawba, the northern half of Iredell, Yadkin & Forsyth counties.

One feature of the new map is that it puts Charlotte in district 9 and Raleigh in district 5, both consisting largely of the metro areas of Mecklenburg and Wake counties. The rest of Mecklenburg is split between distict 13 (north and west) and district 8 (southeast). The rest of Wake County gets split between district 6 (with Orange & Durham counties) and district 7 (southwest).

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