Second day of North Carolina redistricting trial touches on race
North Carolina’s gerrymandering trial in Raleigh continued for its second day on Tuesday, with plaintiffs calling witnesses who said the Republican-drawn congressional maps diminish the power of Black voters.
The state’s new maps for U.S. House districts favor Republicans in 10 of 14 seats. North Carolina gained an additional House seat based on population growth in the 2020 census, which brings the new total to 14. Currently, Republicans hold eight of the state’s 13 congressional seats. The new maps could help Republicans take back the U.S. House.
One district in the northeast part of the state has been drawn to only have a slight Democratic advantage after losing some Black voters. Tufts University mathematician Moon Duchin says the maps hurt African Americans.
“I also find the enacted plans to be dilutive of minority opportunity to elect candidates of choice in North Carolina,” Duchin said.
UNC Chapel Hill history professor James Leloudis also testified Tuesday, saying he thought Democrats needed to have a majority in the General Assembly for Black voting strength not to be diluted.
Republican state Sen. Danny Britt of Robeson County said the statement was “offensive and borders on racist.”
The GOP has said it did not use racial or political data when drawing their maps.
There are also new maps for North Carolina’s General Assembly districts. Outside groups analyzing those maps say they could preserve or expand Republican majorities.
Democratic voters and Democratic-aligned groups have sued Republican leaders over the maps, which they say give the GOP an unfair advantage. And three state trial judges started hearing evidence on Monday in the trial that’s moving quickly with three days to present evidence. The trial could end Thursday.