NC voting cards will be tested on Monday: here are the answers to 10 key questions

GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) – The new year will start off in spectacular fashion in North Carolina, with a trial in Raleigh that may decide electoral maps for 2022 and political control of the state for the foreseeable future.

Representative Virginia Foxx, R-Banner Elk
Representative Kathy Manning, D-Greensboro (WGHP file photo)

You know the situation: The November 4 General Assembly adopted voting cards it had drawn from data provided by the 2020 census for the state Congress, House and Senate. The cards of Congress have changed dramatically and would likely increase GOP dominance. The effects in the Piedmont Triad were dramatic, with Guilford County being divided into three congressional districts and almost all of the 14 counties getting new representation. For Guilford County, the 11e The district has two incumbents, Republican Virginia Foxx (Banner Elk) and Democrat Kathy Manning (Greensboro); the 10th district has Representative Richard Hudson, R-Concord; and the 7th arrondissement has no incumbent. The counties of Wake and Mecklenburg were also divided into several districts which in some cases were merged with neighboring more rural counties. Representative Dan Bishop (R-Mecklenburg) leaves 9e District and will take place in the 8e, of which he had served largely. The General Assembly could see the return of a Republican supermajority, which could make its actions veto-proof.

You know the players: Republicans control the state legislature, which is responsible for drawing electoral maps. Unlike some other states, there is no independent commission or bipartite process. Governor Roy Cooper has no veto power over electoral maps.

You know how it works: Over the past decade, the courts have been very active in hearing arguments and ordering changes to voting cards. At least three lawsuits were immediately filed which challenged the cards based on partisan and racial gerrymandering. Various state courts have reviewed these lawsuits and rendered various decisions over the past two months. None at the start would disrupt the electoral calendar to accommodate the costumes.

Where are we : Then, on December 8, the North Carolina Supreme Court delayed the filing of nominations just after it began on December 6 and postponed the primary election from March 8 to May 17. She also ordered that the trials of these prosecutions end before January 11.

You may have questions. We may have the answers to 10 of them.

1. When and where will the North Carolina redistribution lawsuits go to court?

In 2016 and 2018, North Carolina’s maps were due to be redesigned by state and federal courts (WGHP file photo)

As of January 3, two lawsuits will be tried in Wake County Superior Court in Raleigh as the next step – and the reason for the injunction to delay the filing of nominations issued by the North Carolina Supreme Court – to determine the card validity. The most prominent costume is North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and a group of elected alumni, civil rights leaders and computer science teachers. The defendants are the Chairs of the House and Senate Redistribution Committees – Representative Destin Hall, Senator Warren Daniel, Senator Ralph Hise and Senator Paul Newton. Speaker of the House Tim Moore and pro tempore Senate Speaker Phil Berger are also appointed, along with members of the state electoral council. This costume is joined by Harper v. Lewis, who was deposed by a group of voters, led by Rebecca Harper, against Representative David R. Lewis, Senior Chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, and several of the same defendants as in the other lawsuit. Common Cause, which has been active in redistribution litigation for the past decade, has requested to intervene in this case, which means it will join as a party to the lawsuits.

2. What do these suits say that’s wrong with the cards?

In fgeneral the two argue that voters are deprived of the right to vote by “extreme partisan gerrymandering” because the new electoral maps would likely increase Republicans’ representation in Congress and their control over the State House and Senate, based on the results of the votes. These lawsuits also argue that the cards dilute the voting power of black citizens, which helps tip the electoral balance in favor of the GOP and brings racial gerrymandering into the picture.

The approved congressional map for North Carolina. (NCGA)

3. Are their arguments correct? Would the GOP dominate?

Analysis of voting records published by The News & Observer in Raleigh found that the state’s congressional split would likely be 11-3 in favor of the GOP and at best 10-4. The state has a Democratic governor and attorney general, but gave the former president Donald Trump a 1.4% advantage on President Joe Biden in 2020. The state is considered “purple” – as opposed to “red” or “blue” – with more registered Democratic voters (nearly 2.5 million) than unaffiliated (about 30,000 fewer) and Republicans (2.2 million). The current division of Congress is 8-5 in favor of the GOP, but the population growth shown by the census provides an additional seat in the House, which has drastically altered the existing maps.

State Senate Districts with Incumbents (NCGA)
State House Districts with Incumbents (NCGA)

4. What do the experts say?

The Princeton Gerrymandering project, which follows maps drawn across the country, gave North Carolina Districts for Congress and State House and Senate overall ratings of “F”. They gave the state legislative maps “B’s” for geographic features, meaning compact districts and some county divisions. Princeton said all the cards offered “an extreme Republican advantage.”

5. Haven’t we experienced this before?

One of the lawsuits suggested it was the map of North Carolina (WGHP file photo)

Yes there has been two major changes with the redistribution over the past five years. In 2016, the United States Supreme Court ordered legislative maps to be redrawn due to racial gerrymandering. You may remember that long, lean district that connected Greensboro and Charlotte – the “I-85 District” – and was represented by Representative Alma Adams. But the General Assembly then used the election data in its next round of cards – with some members admitting they had been gerrymandered for a GOP benefit – and the Middle District of North Carolina U.S. District Court in Greensboro in 2018 has forced these maps to be redrawn. (by a consultant hired by the court) for 2020. You may recall that the once divided Guilford County – with the line between the 6th and 13th districts dividing the NC A&T campus – has been kept in its entirety and joined with neighboring Winston-Salem in House District 6.

6. So if the courts ruled that the previous maps were drawn unfairly, why did the General Assembly do it again?

Republicans argued that they did not use political data to draw these new maps, and they certainly did not use race (which the courts have cited in previous rulings). “When we look at the breed, we’ve been told we shouldn’t have, and these cards have been canceled,” said Senator Paul Newton, who co-chairs the redistribution committee, told The Associated Press. “Now that we’re not looking at race, the Democratic Party is saying, ‘Oh, you should look at race. “”

seven. Why are these lawsuits so late?

You may recall that arguments over the rules, the pandemic, and political winds delayed the collection and distribution of 2020 census data by about five months (compared to the 2010 timeline), so that the The General Assembly belatedly began to draw the districts. The city of Greensboro was supposed to have a municipal election in 2021, but these were delayed until spring because new city council districts could not be drawn on time. The General Assembly did not complete its work on the maps until November 4, when those currently in place were adopted. You can learn a lot more about Everything about redistribution.

8. These earlier trials have taken months and even years to adjust the maps drawn in 2011. How do we make a decision about this in time for the adjusted primary calendar in May?

the The North Carolina Supreme Court’s pause in the electoral calendar specifies that this trial must be completed by mid-January and that it accelerates the process so that appeals almost certain reach these seven judges. This trial is scheduled for January 3-5, with oral argument on January 6. The Supreme Court has set January 11 as the deadline for “a written decision”. The chances that they will be appealed are prohibitive.

9. If appeals in these cases reached the North Carolina Supreme Court, would there be an issue with one of the sitting judges, Phil Berger Jr., hearing a case in which his father is among the accused?

Phil Berger Jr.

We do not know what the court could have discussed on this matter before suspending the filing of the elections on December 8. The court did so by “conference” and did not reveal how the seven judges voted (the court has a 4-3 advantage for the Democrats). We do not know if Judge Berger recused himself or influenced this decision. U.S. Representative Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte) has filed a lawsuit to force disclosure on this matter. The proceedings heard specifically ask the court to require the recusal of Judge Berger. The defendants argue that his father is named in the lawsuit only because of his official capacity, and not because of his personal interests. the the challenge is not new when it comes to court, and it doesn’t just concern the Shepherds. But other than the trial arguments, there has been no public statement on this issue and how it might unfold. Public Policy Polling, which polled for the left-wing Progress North Carolina party, asked the question, and 72% of those polled said Judge Berger should recuse himself, and only 14% said they believed he could hear the case and rule fairly. The others were undecided.

ten. Where are most people with all of this?

We expect everyone to be pretty weary of this political football, so to speak. If you believe in polls, there are a few that give us an idea. This public policy survey states that 70% of them describe gerrymandering as a ‘very serious’ or ‘somewhat serious’ problem, and 74% support the efforts of the courts to ensure equitable and constitutional district plans. This includes 66% of Republicans. Respondents to that poll were 37% Democrats, 33% Republicans and 30% independents. RepresentUs poll is even more dramatic, saying his findings show that 90% would oppose gerrymandering “even if their preferred candidate or party can sometimes lose elections.” This poll was carried out by YouGov.

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