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Analyzing judicial maps: A how-to guide for the legislature

Since new judicial maps were rolled out last June, the General Assembly staff has been asked multiple times by multiple lawmakers to provide information about the impact to current sitting judges.

They have yet to fulfill any of those requests, and Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly, Montgomery) — the chief sponsor of judicial redistricting legislation — has said in more than one committee meeting that they do not have that information. There have also been some GOP committee members who have claimed that judges’ residency information is protected. In truth, it is not.

Policy Watch has analyzed incumbency data in three of the seven maps, including the latest proposal introduced last week [1], based solely on information available to the public.

While it has been time-consuming, it has not been an impossible task by any means. We’ve included a guide below on how we analyzed incumbency data for House Bill 717. This is for both for transparency to show our process and to provide an easy step-by-step guide for legislators to show how they too can analyze the maps.

Note: If you continue this process as new proposals are unveiled, you will have to update your base information — add or subtract judges, update addresses, etc. It is possible to make a mistake, but until the mapmaker provides this information, Policy Watch hasn’t found a better way to measure the impact of redistricting judicial districts.

Here are two more examples of the maps with incumbency information, this time filtered by term expiration, so it shows who is up for election in 2018.