A three-judge panel ruled Tuesday to uphold the North Carolina General Assembly's new redistricting maps.
The Wake County Circuit Court judges dismissed a case by voting advocates who challenged the maps' constitutionality. They claimed the Republican-led General Assembly drew the maps to maintain a partisan advantage.
The court ruled that the maps were not gerrymandered and could be used for the midterm elections in November.
“Despite our disdain for having to deal with issues that potentially lead to results incompatible with democratic principles and subject our State to ridicule, this Court must remind itself that these maps are the result of a democratic process,” the judicial panel wrote.
The Legislature must reconstruct district maps every 10 years, corresponding with the release of U.S. census data. The 2020 census showed the state's population grew by more than 888,000 residents. Lawmakers had to add a congressional district because of the population growth. The Legislature approved the maps in November with strong opposition from Democrats.
The plaintiffs said Republican map drawers constructed the maps behind closed doors. The court case revealed key Republicans destroyed a map that was to remain part of public record according to law.
“They are set up to steal seats through illegal partisan gerrymandering and are choosing to proceed with costly litigation that hardworking taxpayers will pay for,” Meredith Cuomo, executive director for North Carolina Democratic Party, said in a statement Tuesday.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said he was pleased with the outcome of the case and believed lawmakers conducted an honest redistricting process.
“Free and fair elections are the result of an open and honest process. The General Assembly's maps were drawn in the light of day, after months of public comment and feedback,” Moore said. “Unfortunately, Democrat plaintiffs refuse to hold themselves to this standard. Their own proposed maps were drawn in secret, implementing feedback not from voters themselves, but from political consultants paid for by Eric Holder.”
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