Redistricting options from NC senators released to public

October 20, 2021 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — After two weeks of mapmaking in open meeting rooms, North Carolina senators have presented some proposals to the public on how they might redraw congressional or state Senate district lines for the next decade.

The Senate Redistricting Committee posted several maps online that Republicans or Democrats have produced this month at computer terminals set up in the committee room. More are expected as Senate Democrats worked on plans Wednesday.

The House Redistricting Committee will begin posting on Thursday proposals of state House or congressional plans from any member who drew one in its committee room and wants them considered, according to GOP Rep. Destin Hall of Caldwell County, the committee chairman.

The House and Senate committees will hold hearings Monday and Tuesday to receive public comment on these maps before any votes are taken on specific plans. Citizens will have the option to speak in person in Raleigh, at remote venues or through video conferencing.

The committees held more than a dozen public hearings across the state last month to receive citizen input before mapmaking began.

“We want to make sure that the maps that are out there get the full vetting,” House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters after Wednesday’s floor session.

Legislators are aiming to approve boundaries for General Assembly and U.S. House districts by early next month. Candidate filing is scheduled to begin Dec. 6, with primaries set for March 8.

Since mapmaking rooms opened Oct. 6, the public has been able to view online video and audio of the committee room and activity on computer screens where drawing happens.

The author of each Senate map option posted online late Tuesday is not identified, but Republicans have offered congressional plans that would appear to give GOP candidates a good chance to win at least 10 of the state’s 14 U.S. House seats. Plans from Democrats could see their candidates winning seven seats.

Republicans currently hold eight of the state’s 13 U.S. House seats. North Carolina is getting an additional seat due to population gains over the past decade.

The proposals that would favor more Republican winners would divide both Wake and Mecklenburg counties into at least three districts. The map used in the 2020 elections had the two most populous counties covering two districts each.

Since Republicans control both the House and Senate, GOP political fortunes are expected to be at least the same if not better should the proposals they embrace be enacted and withstand legal scrutiny.

Redistricting plans are not subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto stamp. Democrats and their allies have questioned decisions by Republican lawmakers to prohibit the use of race-based statistics in drawing lines, saying they are needed to ensure compliance with the U.S. Voting Rights Act.