Aug 11, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
This week in North Carolina politics, the House and Senate redistricting
committees jointly met to approve the criteria that will be used in order
to create the new maps, as ordered by the court.
Redistricting Criteria Adopted
Yesterday the House and Senate redistricting committees met jointly to
adopt the criteria that would be used to draw the new maps. Democrats on
the committee pushed back on several of the proposed criteria, but
ultimately all nine of the criteria proposed by the House and Senate
redistricting chairs passed.
Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) stated that they hope to have the maps drawn
and released to the public by August 23, with floor votes on August 24.
Last Monday’s court ruling requires for the new maps to be in place by
Requires the use of the 2010 census data for drawing districts that are
within five percent of the ideal district population. For the House, that
is almost 80,000 citizens, for the Senate, it is approximately 190,000
: Districts must be contiguous, and that contiguity by water is sufficient.
Sen. Ben Clark (D-Hoke) proposed an amendment that would require the
contiguity of the district to be easily accessible for commerce throughout
the district, without requiring a legislator to drive through an adjacent
district to access another part of their district. The amendment failed.
County Groupings & Traversals:
Requires that legislative districts must be established within specific
county groupings. The
groupings were approved by the committees last week.
Reasonable efforts must be made to improve the compactness of the current
Fewer Split Precincts:
Reasonable efforts must be made to split fewer precincts than in the
current districts. Democrats proposed amendments to this criteria,
attempting to add a sentence that would only allow for precincts to be
split in order to achieve balance in district populations, not for partisan
Allows for municipal boundaries to be considered. Democrats on the
committee contended that “communities of interest” should be added to this
criteria. Rep. Lewis stated that the term is too vague, and that there is
no one definition of the term.
Allows for reasonable efforts and political considerations to be used in
order to avoid pairing an incumbent member with another incumbent member.
Several Democrats opposed this criteria, stating that there should not be a
protection for incumbents.
Maintains that political considerations and election results from previous
elections may be used. Several Democrats pushed back against the criteria,
stating that map drawing should be nonpartisan, in order to prevent
districts being drawn to produce a partisan political advantage. The
Supreme Court has ruled that political gerrymandering is constitutional.
No Consideration of Racial Data:
Directs that data identifying the race of individuals or voters to not be
used. Rep. Lewis stated that race would not be a factor in these maps since
the courts ruled the 28 districts in the current maps to be
unconstitutional, believing that race was the predominant factor in drawing
those maps. Several Democrats on the committee questioned how the maps
would satisfy the Voting Rights Act, which is intended to ensure that
minority voters are able to elect the candidate of their choice, without
considering race when drawing the new maps.