With Deadline Looming, GOP-Led Redistricting Picks Up Steam

Aug 25, 2017

North Carolina Legislative building.
Credit jmturner / Wikimedia Commons

Republican leaders of the General Assembly have just one more week to finish and approve new district maps for the state. This by order of a federal court.  

It's already been a busy week in the world of redistricting here in North Carolina. The new maps were released last weekend, the data used to draw those maps were released on Monday. Then, on Tuesday, citizens were invited to give their feedback on the plan.

And boy did they. With each given three minutes to comment. "We have a total of 221 speakers left to speak," Senator Ralph Hise, co-chair of the redistricting committee, told the crowd "that would require at the pace we're moving approximately 11 hours."

So they changed the format.

The redistricting committee is made up of both state senators and representatives. Thursday, the senators on the committee gave their approval to the changes to their maps. It was a contentious, party-line affair. On Friday the House members on the committee are expected to do the same.

Then these maps will go to the full House and Senate for approval. By state law, the governor plays no role in redistricting, and has no power to veto the maps.

But that doesn’t mean the GOP-controlled redistricting plan is a fait accompli.

These maps have to be approved by the same panel of federal judges, which ruled 28 of the 170 state legislative districts are illegal racial gerrymanders.

The court can give the maps a thumbs up, send them back to the General Assembly for more work or decide the General Assembly isn't up to the task and appoint a special master to draw the maps for them.