On July 27, a three-judge Federal panel held a hearing on the Covington case, which is about the 28 legislative districts that had been ruled racially gerrymandered.
On July 31, the three judges told the NC General Assembly to redraw the legislative maps by September 1.
The Joint Redistricting Committee adopted criteria that unfortunately included incumbent protection. The Committees used those criteria to draw new maps, which do protect most incumbents.
There were two rounds of public hearings, one on August 4 about the criteria, the other on August 22 about the maps themselves. (You can see the maps on the General Assembly’s website.)
The NC House and the NC Senate have each passed their own redistricting maps, and each body will approve the other’s map by the end of this week.
In the next few weeks the three-judge panel will the maps as well as input from the plaintiffs in the case. It is almost impossible to guess what the judges will do, but we should have new districts by the time candidates start filing on February 1, 2018.
Meanwhile, judges held hearings on another challenge to congressional maps in court this week.
So what can you do?
- Contact your legislators and let them know that the maps they drew are unacceptable. Tell them that North Carolina needs a new nonpartisan system for redistricting.
- Tell your legislators that it is time to pass House Bill 200, which would establish a nonpartisan redistricting process for NC.
- Share information about redistricting reform with your family, friends, and colleagues.
- Speak out in any way you can—write letters to the editor.