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Legislators file witness list for court hearing over special master’s proposed redistricting

Legislative defendants in a racial gerrymandering case are planning on calling at least four witnesses to testify in a hearing over a special master’s redistricting proposal.

They’ve also asked to call rebuttal witnesses “if the need arises,” according to the court document filed Friday. The hearing in North Carolina v. Covington will be at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 5 at the federal courthouse in Greensboro.

The special master, Stanford Law professor Nathaniel Persily, filed his final redistricting proposal Dec. 1. He redrew Senate districts in Cumberland, Hoke and Guilford counties and House districts in Sampson, Wayne, Mecklenburg, Guilford and Wake counties.

Lawmakers have vehemently objected to the maps and to Persily’s involvement in the case. The plaintiffs in the case, who are affected by the unconstitutional racial gerrymanders under the current maps, support Persily’s plan. They do not plan to call any witnesses during the Jan. 5 hearing.

These are the witnesses the legislative defendants plan to call:

  • Douglas Johnson — He is a research fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government in Claremont, Ca., and President of the National Demographics Corporation, a redistricting company. He is expected to testify about the extent to which race predominated over other traditional redistricting criteria in the special master’s proposed version of the challenged districts.
  • Hank Henning — He is a Guilford County Commissioner, who is a registered Republican, and is expected to testify about the effect of the special master’s proposed plan on citizen representation in his district.
  • Michael Boose — He is a Cumberland County Commissioner, who is also a registered Republican, and is expected to testify about the effect of the special master’s proposed plan on citizen representation in his district.
  • Persily — Lawmakers would like to cross-examine the special master.

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