The plaintiffs in North Carolina’s ongoing partisan gerrymandering case has asked the court to throw out some of the remedial House map after alleging lawmakers violated the court’s redistricting instructions.
A three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court ruled that Republican lawmakers went too far with partisan gerrymandering and gave strict instructions to redraw certain districts within both the House and Senate legislative maps from 2017. Instructions included using traditional redistricting criteria to redraw districts, to do it in full public view and to not use partisan data in the process.
One of the two chambers of the General Assembly violated every one of these commands,” states a court document objecting to the House’s remedial redistricting process.
The document, which was filed Friday, alleges the House Redistricting Committee secretly engaged two of their experts from the Common Cause v. Lewis trial who specialize in elections data analytics — they were supposed to ask the court for permission to engage anyone outside legislative staff. It also notes that all members of that committee were also emailed partisanship data about their base maps by their counsel. It states that House incumbents were allowed to revise their own county groupings to their personal liking, and largely out of public earshot.
“These procedural violations would provide ample grounds to throw out the House’s remedial plan (the ‘Proposed House Plan’) in its entirety, but in an effort to limit the scope of relief the Court must grant, Plaintiffs focus their objections here on five House county groupings
where the House’s procedural violations led to the most significant substantive violations of the Court’s Decree,” the motion states.
The five groupings are: Columbus, Pender and Robeson counties; Forsyth and Yadkin counties; Cleveland and Gaston counties; Brunswick and New Hanover counties; and Guilford County.
“Incumbents in these groupings acted with partisan intent and impermissibly sought to preserve the cores of their prior districts, in violation of the Court’s mandates,” the document states.
The document notes that the Senate did what it was supposed to do, even with some flaws. It should be noted though that incumbents in the Senate were also permitted to revise their own districts and many, many of the changes to maps on the computers in public view were also made out of earshot of the public.
Read the full objection below. Lawmakers have until Friday to address the objection and supply any alternative maps to the court.