Lawyers in lawsuit say North Carolina’s 2024 election maps are racially biased


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina voting-rights advocates filed a lawsuit Tuesday to overturn all redistricting plans drawn up by Republicans for the 2024 elections, saying legislative leaders illegally disenfranchised Black voters. weakened the electoral impact of.

North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, Common Cause, and eight black residents filed a lawsuit In federal court. He accused GOP legislative leaders of deliberately drawing the boundary lines for the General Assembly and congressional districts so that the preferred candidates of black voters would lose to candidates favored by white voters. For decades, black residents have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates.

“The General Assembly targeted predominantly black voting precincts across the state with surgical precision, at the expense of traditional redistricting criteria, thereby reducing the ability of black voters to elect the candidates of their choice. Is. level of government,” the authors of the lawsuit wrote.

The plaintiffs want the maps thrown out so no elections can be held under them because they argue the new districts violate the U.S. Constitution, the federal Voting Rights Act and another law.

But this may be difficult to accomplish. Candidate Filing closed on Friday for the March 5 primary election, and the first primary absentee ballots will be distributed to voters on January 19. At a minimum, the remediation maps need to be enacted for use before the 2026 general election, the lawsuit says.

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Tuesday's lawsuit marks the latest and most extensive lawsuit filed by voters since the Republican-dominated General Assembly New maps were created in October For their own districts and for North Carolina's congressional delegation that is designed to increase GOP dominance in the years to come.

The plaintiffs primarily focus on four of the state's 14 congressional districts, nine of the 50 state Senate districts and about 20 of the 120 state House districts. Many of them are located in northeastern counties that have a disproportionate percentage of black residents compared to the state as a whole, which exceeds 22% African American.

Nearly 20 Black and Latino voters filed the lawsuit earlier this month Attack new congressional districts, Four of them, he argues, are illegal racial gerrymandering. And a lawsuit filed by two black voters says two eastern North Carolina state Senate districts violate the Voting Rights Act through new boundaries that failed to create a majority-black district in an area where white voters are typically African American. Defeat candidates preferred by US residents.

Plaintiffs in the state Senate lawsuit have asked a federal judge to rule by the end of the year on whether to block the use of districts in primary elections while the case goes to court. But other lawsuits, including the one filed Tuesday, lack similar formal requests for quick action.

The maps enacted in October put Republicans in good position to win at least 10 of the state's 14 congressional seats next November and maintain majorities in the state Senate and House, according to redistricting experts and statewide election data. The maps, if retained, should be used during the 2030 elections.

Under the congressional maps drawn by state judges for the 2022 elections, Democrats and Republicans each won seven seats.

But new congressional limits could help Republicans on Capitol Hill Maintain control of the US House Entering 2025. In recent weeks, three incumbent Democrats – Reps. jeff jackson, Kathy Manning And Wiley Nickel - Decided not to run for re-election, saying the district was so GOP-neutral that running in 2024 would be futile.

While opponents of the Republican maps have publicly argued that the GOP lines are designed to squeeze out more electoral seats at the expense of Democrats, recent state and federal court decisions rejected legal claims of illegal partisan gerrymandering. Is.

Legal challenges to North Carolina's redistricting maps appear to have been largely limited to claims of racial bias, as used by the three lawsuits filed against the latest redistricting.

A panel of three judges composed of U.S. Circuit Judge Alison Rushing and District Judges Thomas Schroeder and Richard Myers will hear the congressional redistricting case. All three justices were nominated by Republican presidents to their courts.

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