NCGOP’s gerrymandered voting maps were created in secret, ignored racial data in likely violation of the Voting Rights Act

NCGOP’s gerrymandered voting maps were created in secret, ignored racial data in likely violation of the Voting Rights Act

Power-drunk Republicans this week released congressional and state voting maps that are so extremely gerrymandered that they very well could violate the law.

Republicans came out with two proposed versions for the state’s new congressional map and both of them would turn the state’s current seven Democrat, seven Republican delegation into a 10-4 or 11-3 split in favor of Republicans.

The Republicans’ gerrymandering becomes even more outrageous when it comes to the state legislative voting maps. The NCGOP’s maps split communities down to the city and town level for no other reason than it is politically expedient to them. By splitting towns into separate districts, Republicans are trying to dilute the power of our communities – specifically Black communities.

Despite the fact that courts have repeatedly ruled that voter ID laws, felony disenfranchisement and racial gerrymandering discriminate against Black residents, Republicans continue to push these laws. It’s likely these new maps violate laws like the Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of voters of color as Republicans did not consider racial data in the drawing of the new maps.

The fact that North Carolina is a state where Democrats and Republicans running nationally or statewide can see their races be decided by just a few thousand votes, or in some cases a few hundred, makes no difference to them. The NCGOP doesn’t care about fairness or democracy, they are only interested in keeping their power and they’ll do it by any means necessary. To keep their power, they have spread lies about the 2020 election, failed to condemn those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, dismantled voting rights and committed blatant partisan gerrymandering.

As they often do, Republicans operated under a cloak of secrecy. They drew these maps behind closed doors, without any meaningful input from Democrats, community stakeholders or the public. They held just three public forums on redistricting in three different cities across the state in the span of three days in late September. Voters at these hearings didn’t hold back their vitriol for these unfair tactics.

Our democracy is built on the idea that voters choose their representatives, not the other way around. This is not the first time Republicans have brazenly gerrymandered political districts in an attempt to stay in power. North Carolinians are used to fighting uphill battles. Fighting for voting rights and organizing communities is what ensures we have fair representation. We will continue to unite to defeat them.

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Patrick Zarcone

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