Lawsuit filed by the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Common Cause and individual Black voters challenging North Carolina’s newly enacted congressional, state House and state Senate map, which the Republican-controlled Legislature redrew in October 2023. The plaintiffs ask the court to strike down all three maps for violating the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the U.S. Constitution and to order the Legislature to enact new, lawful maps for use no later than the 2026 elections.
2023 State Senate Map
The plaintiffs allege that the state Senate map denies Black voters of any opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice in violation of Section 2 of the VRA. In particular, the plaintiffs assert that the 1st and 2nd Senate Districts — which sit in the northeastern part of the state in the heart of North Carolina’s Black Belt — unlawfully deprive Black voters of electoral power by “cracking” them across these two districts and pairing Black communities with white coastal communities in the state.
Additionally, the complaint argues that the state Senate map undermines Black voting power in the southeastern portion of the state in the Wilmington area by unlawfully moving Black voters from the 7th Senate District to the 8th Senate District where their votes are less powerful. According to the complaint, this portion of the state Senate map is a “textbook racial gerrymander that systematically overpopulates Senate District 8 and underpopulates Senate District 7” in violation of the 14th Amendment.
The plaintiffs contend that the 42nd Senate District in Mecklenburg County has an artificially lower population and low number of Black voters. The complaint states that the district was “drawn to systematically diminish the voting power of Black residents” — and elevate the electoral power of white voters — in violation of the 14th Amendment’s one-person one-vote principle. The plaintiffs also argue that the new state Senate plan intentionally discriminates against Black voters in violation of the 14th and 15th Amendments.
2023 State House Map
The plaintiffs claim that the state House map is intentionally discriminatory and dilutes the electoral power of Black voters in the Black Belt of Northeastern North Carolina. The lawsuit states that Black voters can only elect their preferred candidates in three House districts in the northeastern area of the state: the 8th, 23rd and 27th House District. The plaintiffs maintain that outside of those districts, “Black voters in northeastern North Carolina are consistently submerged in white majorities, in districts where they will be defeated at the ballot box by larger white populations.” The complaint specifically challenges the 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th, 12th, 24th, 25th and 32nd House Districts for violating Section 2 of the VRA.
The plaintiffs also mount a challenge to the 35th House District in Wake County, arguing that the district has an artificially low population — characterized by an extremely low Black voting age population and a noticeably high white population — in violation of the 14th Amendment’s one-person one-vote principle.
Lastly, the plaintiffs allege that the House map diminishes Black voting power in the Winston-Salem area. In particular, the plaintiffs assert that the 71st House District is artificially overpopulated and “packed” with Black residents, thereby rendering surrounding districts where Black voters lack the opportunity to elect their preferred candidates in violation of the 14th Amendment.
2023 Congressional Map
The complaint brings claims against the 1st Congressional District, arguing that the “General Assembly intentionally diluted the voting power of North Carolina’s Black voters in the Black Belt by redrawing Congressional District 1 to reduce the opportunity there for Black voters to elect a candidate of their choice.” The plaintiffs contend that the newly configured 1st Congressional District violates Section 2 of the VRA.
Furthermore, the lawsuit argues that the congressional map unlawfully cracks historic Black populations in the “Triad area” — made up of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem — across the 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th Congressional Districts in contravention of the VRA.