WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly approved new congressional and state legislative maps. Because Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has no role in the redistricting process, these maps will immediately become law.
Despite North Carolina’s near-even partisan split, all three maps are expected to favor Republicans. The new congressional map, for instance, creates 10 Republican-leaning districts, three Democratic-leaning districts and one competitive district. Notably, it dismantles Rep. Kathy Manning’s (D) Guilford County-based district and reduces the Black voting population of Rep. G. K. Butterfield’s (D) district. Democrats objected to all three plans for being partisan gerrymanders — illegal under the state constitution — and for wrongly ignoring racial demographics. Republicans also ignored comments from the public criticizing the maps, particularly those from Guilford County who objected to being split into multiple districts.
Redistricting is historically contentious in North Carolina. Both the state’s congressional districts and legislative districts were found unconstitutional by courts multiple times over the last decade. Litigation over the new maps is expected — one lawsuit has already been filed over the “race-blind” process the General Assembly used to draw new legislative districts.