It appears the battle over redistricting in North Carolina won’t end until after the 2020 census, when new districts are drawn, and then it is likely to start all over again.
But the newly redrawn and yet to be approved districts did get support from a highly respected source this week – Tom Ross, the former president of the University of North Carolina and the co-chair of the North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform.
The plaintiffs, who won the suit against the state legislature that resulted in a three judge panel ordering the state House and Senate to redraw the legislative districts in about half the state, have filed an objection to five areas of the state House maps including those for the Guilford County.
According to the brief, the state House violated “everyone” of the court’s commands in redrawing the districts and the areas that the plaintiffs are asking to be redrawn by a court appointed special master are particularly egregious.
The brief states that state Senate violated some of the directions from the court but doesn’t request that any state Senate districts be redrawn.
Ross, in an editorial in the Charlotte Observer, had a lot of praise for this redistricting process and expressed some concerns.
Ross stated, “The court-ordered process was a departure from the last 50 years of redistricting. That’s why I find the results even more surprising and generally encouraging.”
Ross notes, “Political analysts predict the new maps will still lean Republican, in part due to geography.”
He goes on to explain that Democratic voters are clustered in the cities while Republicans are spread out across rural areas giving Republicans an advantage unless the urban areas are combined with rural areas to create more competitive districts.
And he raises the question of whether the map drawers should be passive or attempt to correct geographic issues for a partisan advantage or to create maps as politically even as possible.
Ross states, “The bottom line is the process was a meaningful improvement, even if it is not perfect, and the outcomes were fairer, even if not ideal in everyone’s mind.