Court-ordered redistricting moving full steam ahead

Senators on Tuesday evening went through several maps to explain where their district lines exist. They are taking part in a court-ordered remedial redistricting process. (Photo by Melissa Boughton)

A lot has happened in four days of nonstop redistricting at the North Carolina legislature, and it’s expected lawmakers will wrap up their voting maps today.

Republican lawmakers were ordered to redraw several House and Senate districts by Sept. 18 after a court found they violated the state constitution while creating the 2017 legislative maps by using extreme partisan gerrymandering to dilute the Democrats’ voting strength.

House and Senate redistricting committees embarked on their redistricting journey — void of partisan considerations, which the court banned from use — Monday and have been working day and night ever since to get the process over with.

The Senate was moving faster than the House and was almost set to consider amendments to its base map Thursday, but reviewing those amendments and making changes took up more time than was expected. They are, though, expected to vote on the amendments today and ultimately vote the final map out to the Senate floor.

It’s not expected the Senate will take a floor vote today.

The House is expected to take a floor vote today. Once it picked out its base maps Wednesday, the mapmaking process picked up pace and lawmakers who were double-bunked spent Thursday working on unpairing themselves.

While the court banned partisanship, it did say lawmakers could take incumbency protection into reasonable account. The process the House used at first to unpair lawmakers was transparent and easy to follow, but things were not so easy by the end of the night.

The group ended the night by voting along party lines (12-6) to make unnecessary changes to the Columbus-Pender-Robeson cluster. Democrats voted against the change, because there was no explanation for it. They said the cluster was being treated different from all the other clusters they already voted on.

Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Columbus, Robeson) did not “yield” for a question from another lawmaker asking for more information about the decision to split a precinct.

The House committee will reconvene at 9 a.m. in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building. It is expected to take up any last amendments and vote the map to the House floor. It’s expected the House will also vote on it today.

The Senate committee will reconvene at 9 a.m. to finish work and will begin voting out amendments at 11:30 a.m. in room 544 of the Legislative Office Building. It’s not expected that the full Senate will vote today on the final map.

The entire remedial redistricting process is being streamed online. Watch the video live streams here. The images below capture some of the redistricting process over the past couple days.

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