Judges allow redistricting challenges to proceed

Posted February 6, 2012

Voting map

— A special three-judge panel ruled Monday that two suits challenging the Republican-drawn voting maps for upcoming elections in North Carolina can move forward.

Democratic elected officials and civil rights and election watchdog groups argue the maps are unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering and boundaries that cross too many county lines.

The panel dismissed claims that the maps violated the state constitution because they were drawn in an "arbitrary and capricious" manner and that they didn't reflect the "good of the whole." The judges also dismissed the claim that split precincts aren't allowed unless the U.S. Department of Justice fails to approve a map without them.

Superior Court Judges Paul Ridgeway, Joseph Crosswhite and Alma Hinton will allow arguments on claims that the maps were drawn with voters' race in mind, which would violate the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions. They also will hear arguments on claims that splitting precincts creates a burden on some voters, that some legislative and congressional districts violate a provision that counties aren't supposed to be split up and that the maps violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

No hearing date has been set for the case, and both sides claimed victory in Monday's ruling.

“I am pleased that many of these frivolous complaints were dismissed today and am confident that, once the facts are presented, the remainder of complaints will be tossed out,” Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, said in a statement.

“We are glad that today the court unanimously recognized that many of these claims were completely without merit," Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, chairman of House Redistricting Committee, said in a statement. "These maps are fair and legal, and as the court said last time, we look forward to holding the 2012 elections under the maps the legislature lawfully enacted.”

“We are pleased that the major claims in the lawsuit remain," a group of former and current Democratic lawmakers, the plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits, said in a statement. "We look forward to the opportunity to fully proving the significant constitutional flaws in all three redistricting plans and the manner in which those plans violate the rights of all North Carolina citizens.”

The three-judges ruled two weeks ago that North Carolina's primary will be held on May 8 as scheduled, despite the lawsuits. Delaying the primary until July wouldn't leave enough time to handle the case and allow candidates enough time to campaign, they said.


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  • bill0 Feb 7, 2012

    "Its a bad precedent IMHO, if the democrats ever regain control and earn the right to draw up districts again, we'll get the same thing from the GOP next time."

    As a point of fact, the GOP filed lawsuits after every modern redistricting.

  • PanthersFan45 Feb 7, 2012

    I wish the democrats would just accept their defeat graciously but they won't. These ridiculous lawsuits follow 100 years of them doing the exact same thing ... gerrymandering. Now that they can't redraw districts to favor thier own, they get upset when republicans do it and we get this. Its a bad precedent IMHO, if the democrats ever regain control and earn the right to draw up districts again, we'll get the same thing from the GOP next time. Sore losers should accpet the notion they lost and learn from it. Instead they choose to show everyone how to whine when you don't get your way. Pathetic.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Feb 6, 2012

    The Republicans in Northern Wake County were disenfranchised by Brad Miller when he drew the 13th district while still in the state legislature.

    He put Northern Wake County in the predominately Democrat 13th district that runs along the Virginia border from Raleigh to Greensboro.

    Glad to see the other shoe has fallen and now Brad Miller isn't running because he can't win in the new predominately Republican controlled 13th district.

    Brad Miller got a taste of Karma.

  • boneymaroney13 Feb 6, 2012

    Of course, a quick visit to the NC Board of Elections website reveals that there are 2,721,338 registered Socialist Democrats in NC compared to only 1,953,155 Republicans.

    IF this is true, shouldn't the Republicans deserve to gerrymander to their favor since they are the "minority" party.

  • vraptor Feb 6, 2012

    feb 16 is the start of candidate registration. once that starts. by by law suite.

    so why do you have to pay %1 of the base pay to register? it keeps most people away. is it that a nc thing or a national thing? $1750 to get on the house ballot????

    i would challenge price. but i don't have a spare $1750.

  • geosol Feb 6, 2012

    Of course, a quick visit to the NC Board of Elections website reveals that there are 2,721,338 registered Democrats in NC compared to only 1,953,155 REPUBLICANS. And the right wing attempt to carve out a majority REPUBLICAN districts out of North Carolina is legal HOW???

  • boneymaroney13 Feb 6, 2012

    Hey swray001 - they already have a state, it's called NY. Look what a mess it's in.

  • swray001 Feb 6, 2012

    There is no way to get this straight as long as race keeps entering the picture. Isn't it about time people get over this. How many times is it going to take for these people to get enough. Give them one of the states and let them run it, and not be connected to the USA.

  • vraptor Feb 6, 2012

    if you do not know why we have redistricting, then you should not vote. our constitution requires redistricting every 10 years to even out the # of voters in each district.

    when did women lose the right to vote??? 1977. why? in the 1700's, you could only vote if you owned land. that included women. men started deeding their property to their wives and then they could vote. the problem was; they voted the wrong way? so the party in charge took away their right to vote...

  • boneymaroney13 Feb 6, 2012

    Look aat the way Durham, Wake, Guilford, and some of the other counties are chopped up. Who are they pandering to? This didn't happen in the mountain or coastal counties.