NC Supreme Court outlaws partisan gerrymandering and uplifts democracy
Last Friday night marked a big win for North Carolina voters, with the state Supreme Court ruling that Republican crafted congressional and state legislative maps violate the state constitution.
The justices ruled that the maps were heavily skewed to favor Republican candidates that they, “violate the free elections clause, the equal protection clause, the free speech clause and the freedom of assembly clause of North Carolina’s constitution“.
In a 4-3 decision along party lines, Democratic justices ordered new political districts to be redrawn by February 18, as the current maps would have given Republican candidates a clear advantage in elections throughout the next decade.
The court is expected to decide on the new maps by February 23.
- “At every level, North Carolina’s GOP leadership diluted representation of communities of color to entrench their own political power in ways that were both obvious and egregious,” stated Allison Riggs, Co-Executive Director and Chief Counsel for voting rights at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “The state’s highest court has now said that all North Carolinians deserve better and is demanding that all lawmakers do better”.
- “We celebrate this momentous win for our democracy. But the fight for fair maps is not over. Now we must ensure that new districts are drawn free from racist or partisan gerrymandering, with complete transparency and robust public input, keeping communities together and protecting the right of all North Carolinians to have a voice in choosing their representatives,” stated Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina.
Historically, NC Republican lawmakers have tried to give themselves unfair political advantages through racially-motivated gerrymandering, with the current maps showing no exception.
The state court’s ruling reaffirms that Republicans’ tactic of depriving our communities of fair representation harms our democracy and will not be tolerated.
In case Chief Justice Paul Newby and his Republican friends need a refresher, “It is wrong, as a matter of law as well as morality, to cheat and rig elections to assure a specific outcome. It doesn’t matter how it’s done – harvesting absentee ballots, making polling places inaccessible, blocking voters of certain races, genders or ethnic backgrounds – or manipulating voting districts to assure an election outcome”.
Plain and simple, the state Supreme Court rightly stood with North Carolina voters and defended our freedom to vote.
In the coming days, Republicans have the opportunity to do right by North Carolinians, and craft maps that ensure equal voting power and representation for every community. Our state deserves nothing less.