A new legislative voting map proposed by Republican mapmakers was released online; the map highlights the changes of the proposed new districts in North Carolina.
Federal courts ruled that the current maps drawn in 2011 were unconstitutional and guilty of gerrymandering. This ruling forced North Carolina lawmakers to redraw the district boundaries in order to make lines fairer for North Carolina voters.
While the Republicans control both the House and the Senate and can freely draw the new boundaries to their liking, the new map will be reviewed by a three-judge-panel of federal judges but will not be subjected to Governor Roy Cooper’s veto.
The proposed new map now presents the districts to be more compacted than before. Both the House and the Senate previously agreed to not use any racial data about the voters when drawing the new boundaries, though the criteria mapmakers needed to follow allowed them to use past elections results, which provided projections of political votes.
Under the proposal presented on Sunday, the House districts covering Western North Carolina will remain the same. It will also create two new districts that will force incumbent Republicans to go head to head as well. This will involve Representatives Jon Hardister and John Faircloth, both who represent Guilford County. It will also cause an intra-GOP fight between Representative Carl Ford of Rowan County and Representative Larry Pittman of Cabarrus County.
Two other districts will also cause an incumbent Democrat to face a sitting Republican. This will match up Democrat Jean Farmer-Butterfield to face Representative Susan Martin of Wilson County. It will also cause GOP Representative John Sauls and Democrat Robert Reeves to meet as well. Four of the new districts will have no incumbent legislative living in them. Three of the incumbents will be in Guilford, Chatham and Pitt Counties, while the fourth includes Beaufort and Craven counties.
Many of the districts will most likely be uncontested in next year’s elections since nearly half of the General Assembly races were uncontested in 2016 – this is mostly blamed on the gerrymandered maps.
The Democrats have immediately protested these newly drawn districts, claiming that Republicans mapmakers have withheld vital information and details about how districts are composed.
Democrats and their allies are expected to protest many of the other boundaries drawn. Complaints have already been filed about the criteria used to create the new boundaries.