Despite errors caused by a software glitch that left thousands of voters unassigned to legislative or congressional districts, the US Dept. of Justice has given the state's GOP-penned redistricting maps pre-clearance approval on the first round of reviews - for the first time in three decades.
The news came this evening, on the heels of news that the GOP's precinct-splitting strategy had led to software glitches violating the prescribed Congressional district variance of plus or minus one voter.
The pre-clearance means the new maps can be put into effect immediately - absent a legal challenge from Dems and other groups, who've already said they intend to file suit against the new maps.
In a joint statement, Redistricting chairmen Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) claimed victory.
“The Obama Justice Department’s stamp of approval on our redistricting plans confirms what we’ve said all along: these are fair and legal maps that give a strong voice to all voters. It also should silence the racially-charged rhetoric and put to rest the baseless claim that these maps were somehow discriminatory," the statement read.
“Today’s historic decision by the Obama Justice Department, after thorough review by Attorney General Holder, proves that we followed the letter and intent of the law in protecting the voting rights of minorities."
Democrats said the flaws exposed today were "reason enough to question this plan."
"The review by the Department of Justice focused on one narrow aspect of the plan and preclearance was not unexpected. We continue to believe this redistricting proposal is divisive, highly partisan and legally deficient. As we learned just today, the plan failed to account for thousands of people," said House Minority Leader Joe Hackney in a statement. "We will pursue whatever remedies are available to mitigate these shortcomings.