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Redistricting maps roll out

Posted June 17, 2011
Updated June 18, 2011

The Joint Redistricting Committee has started releasing proposed maps in advance of the July 13th special session.

The maps released this afternoon show “VRA” or “Voting Rights Act” districts – state House and Senate districts designed to have at least “50% plus one” minority population. VRAs are required by a 1965 federal statute aimed at guaranteeing legislative representation for minorities.

You can find the proposed House map and data sets here, and the Senate here.

The VRA districts are required to be drawn first under state law. They’ll also need the approval of either the U.S. Dept. of Justice or the DC Circuit Court.

Redistricting co-chairs Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, and Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, said in a statement today that the current maps fall far short of proportional representation of African-American voters. They plan to remedy that by dramatically increasing the number of districts in which the majority of voters are African-American.

Without seeing the complete map, it’s difficult to tell exactly what the effect of the change will be. But the proposal puts at least one incumbent – Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford – into the same district with another incumbent, Rep. Maggie Jeffus, D-Guilford. And one Senator, Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth, would be drawn out of her district entirely.

The Redistricting committee will hold a meeting to hear public comments on the proposed VRA maps. That's scheduled for next Thursday, June 23, via videoconference from seven sites around the state. The legislative website has more details.

The maps for the rest of the House and Senate districts and the Congressional plans are scheduled to be released by July 1st.

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  • mayjohn Jun 21, 2011

    The VRA proposed district that includes Franklin County is an egregious affront to all of its residents. During the past 45 yrs we have worked hard to overcome racial prejudices and differences. Together, we have elected an African-American sheriff, county commissioners and school board members. This offensive map will segregate our citizens by race and either eliminate or hinder our ability to work together for a united purpose.
    This plan presented the Republican legislative leadership circumvents the legal purpose of the Voting Rights Act which is to insure minorities the power and respect to influence governmental decisions with neighbors of a common goal. It is an obvious attempt to pack Black voters into rambling districts and to segregate and deny their overall impact to elect a responsive North Carolina Legislature.
    John May