The late GOP mapmaker Thomas Hofeller has become synonymous with partisan gerrymandering in the U.S., but it’s his work in North Carolina that really captured people’s attention.
Vox put together a video last week that explores how Hofeller shifted the balance of power by taking gerrymandering to the extreme, and it zeroes in on North Carolina.
“Perhaps his greatest work was in his late years,” states an article introducing the video. “In 2010, after Republicans took over several statehouses, Hofeller helped redraw several statehouse maps, including the maps in North Carolina. Gerrymandering has been around for centuries, but in that redistricting cycle, Hofeller tested the limits of exactly how much power one party can accrue — without actually having a majority of the electorate support them.
“When the Supreme Court struck down his maps for diluting the voting power of black people, Hofeller drew another round of maps that diluted the political power of Democrats.”
For years, there was speculation about Hofeller’s motives during redistricting in North Carolina, but it wasn’t until after his death that people began to see it concretely after his daughter turned over his digital files to plaintiffs in a partisan gerrymandering case. Some of those files have been made public, but the majority have been kept confidential.
A judge is expected to rule this week on the publicity of the entirety of the Hofeller files. In the meantime, check out the video above.