RALEIGH — New state legislature maps drawn in September by the N.C. General Assembly by order of a bipartisan three-judge panel of N.C. Superior Court justices were approved by that same body on Oct. 28.
The judges in Common Cause vs. Lewis stated they were satisfied with the NCGA’s attempts to have the remedial redistricting process “in full public view,” that the illegal 2017 districts were not used as a starting point, no partisan or election result data was used in redrawing the maps and other requirements that were issued on Sept. 5 by N.C. Superior Court Judges Paul Ridgeway, Joseph N. Crosswhite and Alma L. Hinton.
“The bipartisan process that we used to create new districts was the most transparent in history,” said Sen. Warren Daniel, (R-Morganton) in a Oct. 28 statement. “Every effort was made to work together with our Democratic colleagues to create fair, nonpartisan and court-compliant districts. I am glad that the court recognized that and approved the new Senate and House districts. I hope we can now finally put this long, absurd, partisan court battle behind us.”
The map drawing doesn’t specifically affect the High Country, as the districts in question were located in and around Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greensboro and other areas where Democratic voting blocks were separated into multiple districts for maximum Republican gain, according to the court.
The new N.C. Senate maps — Session Law 2019-219 — passed the state Senate 38-9 on Sept. 16 with Democrats split, then the state House 62-52 along partisan lines. The N.C. House maps, now S.L. 2019-220, passed the state House 60-52 on Sept. 13 and the state Senate 24-21 on Sept. 17. Both votes were along party lines. Redistricting bills don’t need the governor’s signature to become law.
Common Cause North Carolina, a voting rights nonprofit and subsidiary of the national Common Cause organization, objected to 19 of the N.C. House districts in a court filing, but the three-judge panel ruled that the new maps were constitutional.