Civil rights groups file suit against maps

Posted November 4, 2011
Updated November 5, 2011

The NAACP, the League of Women Voters, Democracy NC, and the Randolph Institute joined 27 individual plaintiffs today in a lawsuit against new GOP-drawn redistricting maps. It's the second suit filed against the maps in 24 hours. 

According to today's lawsuit, the maps seek to reduce the political power of minority voters by lumping them into as few districts as possible, and by dividing their voting precincts into multiple districts, making political organizing and voting more difficult.

At a press conference at the Wake County Courthouse today, state NAACP President Rev. William Barber called the maps "James Crow, Esquire" - a more sophisticated, more nuanced  version of the South's historical "Jim Crow" laws, some of which sought to bar black voters from political participation. Groups challenge new voting maps Groups challenge new voting maps

Republican mapmakers say they were following federal law by clustering black voters into certain districts to ensure that they could elect candidates of their choice. They say the law requires them to construct "majority-minority" districts wherever possible, and that the population of those districts must by law be more than 50% minority. 

But critics of the maps say many districts with voting-age populations less than 50% minority were already electing minority candidates. They say adding more black voters to those districts isn't meant to help them elect minority candidates - it's meant to reduce their influence in surrounding areas.

Barber accused the GOP of hiring outside consultants to employ "legal tricks and computer maps to cut out the heart of black political power."   

""Our democracy should look like this," Barber said, clasping the hands of white co-plaintiffs Bob Hall with Democracy NC and Jo Nicholas with the League of Women Voters. "It should not be driven by these ideological, race-based schemes to resegregate voters."

"We will not allow North Carolina to be politically resegregated," Barber said. "We will never go backward, and we shall not be moved." 

Democracy NC's Bob Hall said the new maps target black voters by splitting their precincts up into multiple districts. One third of the state's black voters live in split districts - a far higher percentage than that of white voters. 

"It creates two classes of voters." Hall said. "This is over the top. This is extreme. This is excessive...it's a crazy plan."

Republicans have denied dividing precincts by race, which is illegal in most cases, insisting they split them up along partisan lines instead, which is permissible. 

But Hall said that's not possible, because mapmakers "don't have the data" to show which voters in each precinct voted Democrat or Republican. The State Board of Elections didn't even have that data to give to mapmakers. "They used race as a proxy," Hall said.  Barber NAACP lawsuit news conference

Republicans say the Justice Department's approval of the maps proves they're not violating civil rights. They say they're confident the courts will find they've followed the letter of the law.  

Watch the whole press conference at right.


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • marktroll Nov 14, 2011

    lol@ flow. it sounds like rev barber wrote those talking points. nice to leave out how many of those jobs were temporary, and what effect the stimulus actually had on the unemployment rate. how sad.

  • josephlawrence43 Nov 7, 2011

    how do they come to the figure of "millions of jobs"> Is it counting 1 person in one job, or is it counting one person doing the same job for 10 or so years==10 jobs. Additionally, it seems as if the basic number of "jobs created and/or saved" were government jobs during the census--jobs which have mostly gone away. Even the fearless leader admitted that the jobs bill was not as shovel ready as they thought it would be.

  • Come On_Seriously Nov 7, 2011

    Actually, according to the Congressional Budget Office (not the White House), the stimulus created and maintained millions of jobs. www.cbo.gov. Here, the following should make it easier(http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/13/us-usa-campaign-stimulus-idUSTRE78C08R20110913):

    According to the CBO:
    -- As of June, between 1 million and 2.9 million Americans owed their jobs to the recovery act.
    -- In the second quarter of 2011 the recovery act added or preserved 550,000 full-time jobs.
    -- The recovery act brought down the unemployment rate by between 0.5 and 1.6 percentage points in the second quarter of 2011.

    It sure is easier for the T-wingers to say the stimulus was useless, but as the GOP contenders keep claiming it, the factcheck orgs keep refuting it. Most economists (this does not include faux news hosts obviously) agree that things would have been much worse without it. Just because the uber-conservatives keep saying it doesn't make it true. Again. As usual.

  • josephlawrence43 Nov 7, 2011

    The platform of job creation that has--thus far--wasted over 1 trillion dollars of taxpayer money and which has produced absolutely no jobs.. Question that?? Then why is the unemployment rate still stuck at 9%--can we all say thank you Obama-san

  • josephlawrence43 Nov 7, 2011

    anybody wish to deny history?? Who was it that--following the War of Yankee Aggression--created and enforced the Jim Crow laws across this nation?? Sure wasn't the Republicans. Who, while in control of the legislature granted more and more financial assistance to mostly minority groups--and in the process gaining more control over them and restricting their freedoms? Can you say the word "dependency"?

  • Come On_Seriously Nov 7, 2011

    What a great oxymoron the T-wingers have come up with- 'liberal racist.' Cain has made it a favorite faux news audio clip, since liberals will obviously do anything to keep minorities out of offices like the Presidency...

    Once again, if you have no intelligent argument that you can back up with facts, resort to name-calling.

    How about the hypocrisy of calling for smaller gov't yet increasing restrictions of social laws, or the platform of job creation that has only resulted in layoffs, or fiscal responsibility while time and tax dollars are wasted debating and codifying the state sport and mineral?

  • matthewwood007 Nov 7, 2011

    Two wrongs dont make a right
    Republican repression is happening all over

  • josephlawrence43 Nov 5, 2011

    what a complete,total,undiluted load of gold plated hypocrisy. For the past 140 years the liberal racist democrats have drawn the voting district maps as they chose--including maps drawn to dilute or deny the voting power of African Americans. And now the democrats and their racist cohorts want to scream unfair?? Please, do me and the rest of the citizens of NC great favor--shut the heck up.