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Politics

There Is Another NC Gerrymandering Lawsuit — This Time At The State Level

NCLegislature.jpg
North Carolina General Assembly
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Common Cause and the North Carolina Democratic Party have sued Republican leaders in the N.C. General Assembly over the state's legislative maps.

Common Cause of North Carolina and the North Carolina Democratic Party have filed a lawsuit against the General Assembly over the state’s legislative maps, which the two groups say are unfairly stacked against Democrats.

Common Cause said Raleigh Republicans have tried to “weaponize” the drawing of districts for the N.C. House and Senate.

Common Cause said Democrats won the total vote in both the state House and Senate races but did not capture a majority in either house. The Democrats did break the Republicans supermajority, however, which had allowed the GOP to override vetoes from the governor.

In Mecklenburg County, Democrats defeated five of six Republican incumbents in the House and Senate.

“As drawn, there is no conceivable way for Democrats to win a majority in either chamber,” said Common Cause in a news release Tuesday.

"Because lawmakers stubbornly refuse to consider passing redistricting reform, we’re left with no choice but to litigate," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. “Gerrymandering is detrimental to democracy, denying voters a choice and a voice on Election Day. We believe we will prevail in court and the people of North Carolina will finally get what they deserve – fair maps for the state House and Senate."

The lawsuit was filed in Wake County Superior Court, and could be heard eventually by the N.C. Supreme Court.

Dallas Woodhouse, the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party, issued a statement dismissing the lawsuit.

"Only North Carolina Democrats would file a lawsuit to overturn districts that they just won," Woodhouse said.

Common Cause and the League of Women Voters have sued state legislative leaders over their Congressional maps, which allows the GOP to hold 10 of 13 Congressional seats.

A three-judge panel ruled in August that the maps were unconstitutional, but the Republican legislative leaders have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could hear the case in early 2019.

If the Supreme Court hears the case, it could be the court’s first definitive ruling on gerrymandering based on political party – not race.