@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

New voting maps approved

Posted July 27, 2011

State lawmakers have given final approval to a new set of voting maps for the 2012 elections. The three plans – House, Senate, and congressional – won final approval tonight. They are not subject to a veto by Gov. Bev Perdue.

It was the first time in over a century that Republicans controlled the process in North Carolina, and the new maps reflect the change in legislative control. Many districts in all three bodies have been crafted to be friendlier to GOP candidates than ever before. For example, the current congressional balance of seven Democrats and six Republicans could shift to three Democrats and ten Republicans in 2012.

That’s due in part to the state’s changing demographics and the accompanying shift in political control, illustrated last year when Republicans swept both legislative chambers. But it’s also due to more precise technology that allows lawmakers to choose the voters they want, right down to street level. Partisan gerrymandering, as it’s called, is not illegal.

The resulting lines divide hundreds of voting precincts across the state, running down sidestreets, across college campuses and through apartment complexes. Critics of the maps say the split districts will require local elections boards to print many more specialized ballots, which could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and a lot of headaches for voters and elections officials in 2012.

Republican mapmakers say the districts are “fair and legal,” a recurrent theme in the week’s floor debates in both chambers. They say the maps conform to all federal and state laws regulating how voting maps can be drawn. They’re confident their plans will withstand federal scrutiny and likely court challenges.

Democrats, however, say Republicans have “packed” African-American voters into a handful of districts, diluting their influence in surrounding areas. They also say the new maps fail to keep communities of interest together, which is a requirement for redistricting. Democratic leaders say they don’t expect the maps to gain the federal approval required for implementation in the May primaries.

In the House, only two Republicans voted against the House plan – Reps Glen Bradley, R-Franklin, and Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, both of whom are “double-bunked,” or placed into districts with other incumbents. One Republican, Rep. Larry Brown, R-Forsyth, voted against the Senate map. The House vote on the congressional plan was strictly along party lines, as were all the map votes in the Senate.

The next step for the new maps is pre-clearance, expected to get underway in about 30 days. The state Attorney General is in charge of presenting the maps to the US Department of Justice, but GOP leaders say they’ll also file suit in federal court in Washington, DC to make sure the process doesn’t get bogged down.

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  • dlphnwmn8 Aug 4, 2011

    Amen Dad.

  • 1 awesome Dad Aug 3, 2011

    I wonder when are they going to focus on jobs for us.

  • marktroll Aug 2, 2011

    you should probably move into chapel hill so you can have your views represented in 2012. lol

  • dlphnwmn8 Aug 1, 2011

    Keep clicking your heels together and you may end up in Kansas.

  • marktroll Jul 30, 2011

    pre-clearance then quickly approved into law!@!!!!!

  • dlphnwmn8 Jul 29, 2011

    he next step for the new maps is pre-clearance, expected to get underway in about 30 days. The state Attorney General is in charge of presenting the maps to the US Department of Justice, but GOP leaders say they’ll also file suit in federal court in Washington, DC to make sure the process doesn’t get bogged down.
    Umm......not so fast.

  • marktroll Jul 29, 2011

    pre-clearance then quickly into law here we come

  • dlphnwmn8 Jul 28, 2011

    Federal court here we come.

  • BubbaDuke Jul 28, 2011

    I hope that the new lines will result in the the majority of North Carolinians having their voice and will heard at both the state and federal levels. In my district, I'm voting for Bill Randall to unseat Brad Miller. He almost did it last time except that the old districting lines were set up to insure career politicians like Miller and Bob Etheridge stayed in office.

  • marktroll Jul 28, 2011

    no dalieus this isnt fascism. this is what we get when they have to draw districts under the Voting Rights Act which REQUIRES gerrymandering.

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