NAACP threatens suit over Congressional redistricting plan

Posted July 7, 2011 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated July 7, 2011 5:40 p.m. EDT

— The state president of the NAACP told lawmakers drawing up a map for North Carolina Congressional districts Thursday, "We will meet you in court."

Rev. William Barber called the map, developed by the Republican majority to re-allocate voters based on 2010 Census data, "regressive" and "shameful" in comments at a public hearing. 

State House and Senate members took comments at nine hearing sites from Wilmington to Cullowhee Thursday on a map which reflects a population increase of 1.5 million people in the state since 2000.

Democratic speakers criticized the proposal as gerrymandering that would diminish the power of black voters. Barber and others say the plan violates the Federal Voting Rights Act by removing five counties – Gates, Washington, Beaufort, Craven and Wayne – from the 1st District, a seat currently held by Democrat G. K. Butterfield.

Former congressional candidate Steve Ivester said people in smaller cities like Hickory and Greenville also would suffer.

The GOP majority has the votes to pass the plan no matter the opposition.

Former GOP state Sen. Woody White of Wilmington praised lawmakers for a map he said would give southeastern voters the chance to elect a Republican for the first time in more than a century.