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House votes almost along party lines to advance proposed legislative map to Senate

The House voted 65-47 Monday to pass a proposed legislative map that GOP members drew to correct unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.

Democrats have been arguing against the map since it was introduced a little over a week ago. Rep. William Brisson (D-Bladen, Johnston, Sampson) was the only Democrat who voted for the map during Monday’s session.

Democrats have said that the map is a gross partisan gerrymander to bolster Republican representation in the legislature and that it remains racially gerrymandered.

To correct the problem of overusing racial data in the 2011 mapmaking process, Republicans voted this process to leave race out altogether — something Democrats, the public and voting rights advocates argue does not solve the issue and violates the Voting Rights Act.

Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), chair of the House Redistricting Committee, said during Monday’s session that he was very proud of the map they produced. He said that other maps he reviewed failed to live up to their map.

While he wished there was more time for public comment, he said, the map presented to the House for a vote reflected “thoughtful consideration and public input.”

Democratic House Leader Rep. Darren Jackson spoke against the map for a number of reasons. He said he doesn’t think the map is a racial gerrymander because his colleagues are racist; he thinks it’s a racial gerrymander so Republican lawmakers can lessen the opportunities of African American voters.

“The plan that we’re passing today is every bit as unconstitutional as the plan in 2011,” he said.

The Senate Redistricting Committee will meet tomorrow at 10 a.m. in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building to review the proposed House map before it moves on to the Senate floor for a vote.

The House Redistricting Committee is set to meet tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the same room to consider the Senate’s proposed map, which will likely be voted on later today.

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