New District Maps Go To Feds
Special Report - September 6, 2011
On Friday, the state Attorney General’s Office filed legal papers with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a federal district court in Washington, seeking approval of its proposed new boundaries for congressional and state legislative districts. Sen. Bob Rucho (RMecklenburg), who chaired the Senate redistricting committee, told the Raleigh News & Observer that the maps and 17 pages of transcripts from public hearings were submitted to both DOJ and the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in an effort by legislative leaders to help ensure approval of the maps as soon as possible. Before the maps can be used in the 2012 elections, they must be “pre-cleared” by DOJ or ruled to be lawful by a federal three-judge panel. Candidates can begin filing for 2012 races in February. DOJ has 60 days to rule on the legality of the maps.
One of the General Assembly’s top priorities during the “long” session was redrawing the lines for the State’s 13 congressional districts and the 170 districts in the state legislature based on population shifts, according to the 2010 census. The 1965 Voting Rights Act mandates federal approval or “preclearance” in order for maps to be used. Forty of North Carolina’s counties are subject to Section 5 of the Act, which requires lawmakers to take minority representation into account and avoid discrimination when drawing districts composed of those counties.
The North Carolina NAACP chapter has said it is considering whether to challenge the maps in court, alleging that minority voices are diluted by having an overabundance of minorities in fewer districts. Over the last 20 years, more than two-dozen lawsuits have been brought against the state’s electoral maps. The North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation (NCFEF) has extensive breakdowns of the party demographics of the proposed districts.
GA Finalizes New Maps - August 3, 2011
Redistricting Special Session Begins - July 13, 2011
New District Maps Unveiled - July 12, 2011
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