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Redistricting committee releases proposed House legislative map without data used to draw districts

Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) tweeted out the new proposed House legislative map Saturday afternoon.

Lawmakers passed criteria to use when drawing the maps a little over a week ago, but the data actually used in the process won’t be released until Monday, Lewis said.

The House is scheduled to vote on the map Friday and both legislative maps — which are required to be redrawn to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders — are due to be submitted for approval to a three-judge panel Sept. 1.

According to criteria passed a little over a week ago by the joint House and Senate redistricting committees, racial data was not considered in the redrawing process but political data was.

One of the criteria passed (along party lines, with Republican majority) included making reasonable considerations not to double-bunk any incumbent legislators, a process in which two incumbents are forced to run against each other in an election. For the most part, the proposed map appears to accomplish that with a few exceptions.

In Greensboro, Representatives John Faircloth and Jon Hardister — both Republicans — are drawn into District 61 with a vacant adjacent seat in District 59. Similarly, two Republicans are double-bunked in Cabarrus and Rowan Counties, Representatives Carl Ford and Larry Pittman.

Democrat and Republican incumbents are double-bunked in Wilson County — Democratic Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield and Republican Rep. Susan Martin — and in Lee County — Democratic Rep. Robert Reives II and Republican John Sauls.

There is an adjacent seat to Lee County without an incumbent in Chatham County. Reives wrote on Twitter that he would continue to serve the people of Chatham County if the current House map was approved.

Notable voting rights groups and the Democratic Party criticized Republicans on Saturday for releasing the maps without more details.

“Colors on the map are pretty, but you really can’t tell much of anything about how fair the district lines are without the data,” said Bob Hall, Executive Director of Democracy NC.

Common Cause NC Executive Director Bob Phillips released a statement that the organization continues to be deeply concerned about “the partisanship and lack of transparency in this latest round of redistricting.”

“Legislative leaders have released only partial information on the new House map, and are still yet to release the new Senate map, even though we are just 72 hours away from a public hearing on the new districts,” Phillips wrote. “This falls short of giving citizens sufficient time and information to study the new districts and how the maps will impact their communities.”

He added that the latest round of redistricting appears largely as flawed as redistricting in the past, driven by partisanship.

Similarly, Democratic Party Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds released a statement accusing Republican leaders of continuing to show more concern over supermajorities than fairly representing the state.

“We’ll wait to see more details before examining individual districts, but we continue to be concerned by Republicans’ insistence on using the same dark arts gerrymandering expert who drew the previous unconstitutional maps, and their refusal to conduct this process in a transparent and bipartisan fashion,” she said.

There are seven public hearings set up across the state scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, and Lewis indicated the maps (the proposed Senate map has not yet been proposed) could change based on that input. You can read more about where to attend the hearings here.

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