WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, Nov. 18, a lawsuit was filed in North Carolina state court challenging the state’s newly passed congressional map (“2021 map”) drawn following the release of 2020 census data. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of plaintiffs from Harper v. Lewis, a crucial North Carolina redistricting case from 2019 that blocked the use of a gerrymandered congressional map for the 2020 elections. Earlier in November, these plaintiffs sought to file a supplemental complaint in Harper given that their case against the previous map remains open and they are raising nearly identical arguments against the 2021 map. However, since the court has not yet taken any action to move the case forward, the plaintiffs are filing this lawsuit on its own in order “to ensure that they have a venue in which to assert their rights under the North Carolina Constitution as to the 2021 Plan.”
The complaint argues that the 2021 congressional map is an “intentional, extreme partisan gerrymander that dilutes Democratic votes and prevents Democratic voters from electing candidates of their choice.” The complaint points out that, similar to the past map that was blocked, the 2021 map creates 10 safe Republican districts and three safe Democratic districts (plus one competitive district after the state gained a seat following the 2020 census) despite the fact that the state is closely divided between Republicans and Democrats. The plaintiffs allege that this extreme partisan gerrymandering violates multiple provisions of the North Carolina Constitution. The plaintiffs ask the court to declare the current map invalid, block its use for future elections and order the creation of a new map that complies with the state constitution.