August 24, 2017/Press

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Analysts, Citizens, Plaintiffs Tell NCGA: New Maps are No Better than Old Maps

Raleigh – After several days of analysis into the proposed NC General Assembly maps, it’s clear Republican leaders and their dark arts gerrymandering expert failed in their most basic task: to the fix the unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

Put bluntly, these maps are just as bad as the old maps. That’s been the conclusion of independent analysts, nonpartisan election watchers, former legislators, editorial boards, the plaintiffs who challenged the original law, the public, and anyone paying attention. Here’s each in their own words:

Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Covington Plaintiffs

“Based on our initial analysis, your proposed plans do not offer an adequate remedy and do not represent appropriate remedies free from other state and federal constitutional flaws … First, it is plain that in several areas of both the House and Senate proposed maps, the constitutional violations are not cured and, indeed, the racially gerrymandering continues.” [8/23/17]

The Campaign Legal Center

“I conclude that both the Proposed House Plan and the Proposed Senate Plan will likely provide a large and durable advantage to Republican voters and candidates in the coming two elections … By historical standards, these are extraordinarily large figures, revealing an enormous Republican edge.” [8/22/17]

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

“These new maps do nothing to fix the illegal 2011 maps that were struck down by the Supreme Court as racial gerrymanders. New maps should ensure that the voters in North Carolina pick their representatives, instead of politicians picking their voters. The current proposal fails that basic test of democracy.” [8/24/17]

Former Congresswoman Eva Clayton

“The right to vote is the most precious right we have. Redistricting is a way to deny that. This is no more than a sham. If the process is flawed, then the product is flawed.” [8/22/17]

Editorial Boards

News & Observer: GOP-drawn districts not much better than before

“…the new maps – likely in a drawer for some months while the court cases played out – continue to skew districts toward Republicans … Making things worse is that by calculation, GOP leaders have offered the public a very limited amount of time to comment and offer input on the maps. In reality, of course, Republicans couldn’t care less about what the public thinks …” [8/22/17]

Star News: New districts; same old political manipulation

“If adopted, these districts all but guarantee that the GOP will continue to have veto-proof majorities in both houses of the General Assembly. To achieve this required some computer legerdemain and tricky penciling. Larger urban areas, where Democrats’ voting strength resides, were horribly carved up.” [8/24/17]

Rocky Mount Telegram: Redistricting plan doesn’t smile on Nash

“It’s hard to fathom this. [These maps] would be more than a blow to Democrats or Republicans. It would be a huge disappointment for Rocky Mount and the Twin Counties.” [8/23/17]

News & Observer: GOP gets public backlash for redistricting maps

“The antipathy many members of the public felt toward these new maps isn’t surprising, but Republicans care only about keeping their advantage in the next election. If that means maps that are weird geographic shapes and dilute the strength of minority voters, so be it.” [8/23/17]

Greensboro News & Record: Maps, good and bad

“The Senate plan is unacceptable. Thousands of Guilford County voters would be handed off to senators from Alamance and Randolph counties. Most would be minority voices in Republican districts.” [8/22/17]

North Carolina Voters

“Although I am a constitutional conservative, I too dislike divided communities” – Raynor James of Craven County [8/23/17]

“It takes a lot of work and conscious thought to come up with such a map, and it is both racist and divisive.” – Kim Koo, member, Rocky Mount Racial Justice Group [8/23/17]

“The redistricting process must be open, avoid racial or partisan gerrymandering and allow voters to pick their own political representatives and not the other way around.” – Sarah Huffman, member, Hickory NAACP board [8/24/17]

“Somehow, in their infinite wisdom this General Assembly believes that it must continue to pay Thomas Hofeller to continue to do this to the state of North Carolina. The message that they’re sending him is either they like what he’s doing or they’re rewarding incompetence.” – Derrick Smith, political action chairman, Greensboro chapter of the NAACP [8/23/17]

“It saddens me that North Carolina has become a national example of blatant gerrymandering” – Sarah Ferguson, Raleigh resident [8/22/17]

Brennan Center for Justice

“Not surprisingly, North Carolina’s proposed new legislative maps have quite high levels of partisan bias. #ncpol” [8/21/17]

Decision Desk HQ

“Under the new #NCGA House districts, even in the 2008 wave, Kay Hagan and Bev Perdue each only carried the bare minimum 61 HDs. #ncpol” [8/24/17]

Common Cause North Carolina

“The current maps are clearly an example of partisan gerrymandering and it gets the same results that we had with the old maps. This is again the legislature being guilty of being partisan gerrymandering.” [8/22/17]