The Nation: North Carolina’s Gerrymandering Puts Democracy on the Line

Barry Yeoman
Sep 27, 2017
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North Carolina isn’t unique in tilting its electoral maps toward one segment of the population. “But it is one of relatively few states that have been as aggressive as they have—and, I’ll add, as aggressively unlawful,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at California’s Loyola Law School, who worked on voting rights as a staff member in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.

States redraw their political lines after every federal census. The last one was in 2010, and the following year North Carolina’s GOP-controlled Legislature released its congressional and state legislative maps. North Carolina is a purple state: In 2016, it voted for both Donald Trump and the Democratic governor, Roy Cooper. But you’d never know that based on the maps.

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The Legislature released its draft maps the weekend of August 19–20, less than two weeks before the court-ordered deadline. Ruth Greenwood, senior counsel at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, did a quick analysis and calculated that they would allow the Republicans to control either North Carolina chamber with about 46 percent of the vote statewide.

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