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Hundreds Attend Legislative Redistricting Hearings

Public hearings in 7 locations statewide on new maps to replace illegal racial gerrymanders from 2011
Rusty Jacobs
Hundreds of people lined up to attend public hearings in seven locations statewide on new maps to replace illegal racial gerrymanders from 2011.

Scores of North Carolina residents turned out Tuesday evening to address members of the state House and Senate redistricting committees.

The committees held public hearings at seven sites statewide on legislative district maps that would replace 2011 maps thrown out by the courts.

Raleigh resident Gina Cruz told lawmakers that North Carolinians deserve fair voting maps drawn by a non-partisan redistricting commission.

"We deserve maps that don't protect incumbents who won based on maps that were ruled racially gerrymandered," Cruz said.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the 2011 maps were illegal racial gerrymanders. The redistricting committees did not consider race in drawing new maps but did consider partisan advantage. Under the proposed maps, Republicans would be likely to hold onto their super-majorities in the legislature.

People young and old spoke out, most slamming the new maps as heavily partisan. In Charlotte, Jacob Hunt told lawmakers that when they design maps solely for political advantage they do not have to suffer the consequences of unpopular policies.

"This, of course, leads them to pursue policy that serves not the collective good but rather the good of the few,” Hunt said.

Mitchell Cook, a 23-year-old unaffiliated voter, showed up at the Raleigh hearing to oppose the new maps and the redistricting process.

"So that the districts are truly representative of the voice and the views of the people of North Carolina rather than just artificially favoring one party over the other,” he said.

Votes on the proposed district plans are scheduled for Friday and Monday. New maps must be submitted for judicial review by September 1.

Rusty Jacobs is WUNC's Voting and Election Integrity Reporter.
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