State News

The Latest: Criteria for new maps include politics, not race

Posted August 10

— The Latest on North Carolina General Assembly members deciding on the criteria for new maps (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

North Carolina Republican legislators have decided election results can play a role in how dozens of General Assembly districts will be drawn, but the racial makeup of people living within those boundaries won't.

GOP members of the House and Senate redistricting committee voted Thursday for the criteria that will be used to redraw boundaries later this month. Federal courts have thrown out nearly 30 districts drawn in 2011 as illegal racial gerrymanders, and judges have told the legislature to approve new maps by Sept. 1.

The committees decided the mapmakers can look at past election results when drawing districts. The decision comes a week after speakers at public hearing pleaded for partisanship to be left out.

The panels also agreed racial data won't be used, but Democratic committee members argue without the information lawmakers will be unable to show judges that the racial gerrymanders have been rectified.

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2:45 a.m.

Some North Carolina General Assembly members are gathering again as they near a court-mandated deadline to redraw legislative districts by Sept. 1.

The House and Senate redistricting committees scheduled a meeting Thursday to approve ground rules that set the basis upon which updated boundaries should be drawn. Twenty-eight districts were thrown out by federal courts for relying too heavily on race. Republican mapmakers say they'll have to alter those and dozens of districts nearby.

Past map criteria have included compactness, Voting Rights Act compliance and previous election results. Critics of the current boundaries asked committee members at a public hearing last week to ignore partisan considerations. Those maps helped the GOP pad its majorities and push through a conservative agenda.

The legislature could approve new maps in two weeks.

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