Here we are again: The party in power has abandoned any pretense of representative government and rejected the agreement with citizens from whom their power should rightly derive. Once again they decree by their actions that elected officials should choose their voters, and not the other way around. And once again, a court has deemed these Congressional districts illegal, and that they must be redrawn before the 2022 primary, scheduled for May.
This time it was the North Carolina Supreme Court that made the ruling. And it only came before them because voter groups sued the state after a federal three-judge panel okayed the 14 districts, 11 of which give Republicans advantages both wide and thin (but mostly wide).
This is the map that turns Guilford and Mecklenburg counties, both of which skew heavily left, into six different districts, five of which vote Republican. One district, the 11th, puts the northern slice of Greensboro in the same district as Boone, more than 100 miles west, in a line drawn carefully to include Rep. Virginia Foxx’s residence.
It’s the map that cements minority rule by ceding 78.5 percent of the electorate to Republican candidates, though registered Republicans make up just 30.3 percent of that same electorate.
It’s the map that deliberately dilutes Black votes by omitting majority-minority districts, which were required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a provision that was struck down by the US Supreme Court in 2013.
It’s the map that delayed the 2022 primary from March until May 17.
And it’s the map that the General Assembly has until Feb. 18 to rectify by drawing a new one. That’s next week.
Smart money says they’re not going to do it. Because when this same thing has happened in the past — new districts were proposed in North Carolina the very same day that the Voting Rights Act provision was removed in 2013 — the Republican-led GA was able to keep the issue in the courts for many, many years. New, fair maps were drawn in time for the 2020 Congressional election, just one cycle, which means that for six years we had improperly elected officials casting votes in the US Congress.
So it’s a safe prediction to say that we’ll see a new court filing before we see new maps.
And a new decision by the other Supreme Court — the federal one — does not bode well for fair elections in the US. More on that next week.
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