WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 5, the plaintiffs in Harper v. Lewis, a crucial North Carolina redistricting case from 2019, again are challenging the state’s congressional map for solidifying Republican power in violation of the North Carolina Constitution. In Harper, a group of North Carolina voters filed a lawsuit in 2019 against the state’s congressional map passed in 2016 for being an extreme partisan gerrymander in favor of Republicans. A North Carolina state court agreed with the plaintiffs and struck down the map before the 2020 elections. This time, the plaintiffs are challenging North Carolina’s newly passed congressional map (the 2021 map) for being a partisan gerrymander that entrenches Republican power across the state. However, given that their case against the 2016 map remains open and they are raising nearly identical arguments against the 2021 map, the plaintiffs seek to file a supplemental complaint challenging the 2021 map in the open Harper case in order to efficiently conduct litigation.
In their proposed supplemental complaint, the plaintiffs argue 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 2016 map that was struck down, 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 suit asks the court to expedite consideration of the motion to file a supplemental complaint so that the judicial process can be completed ahead of the 2022 election cycle.