The lawsuit suggests that North Carolina’s new congressional maps intentionally carve away large tracts of “minority-opportunity” districts, diluting the power of Black and Latino voting blocs.
A diverse group of Black and Latino voters has filed a federal lawsuit against North Carolina’s new congressional map, claiming that it “intentionally discriminates against minority voters” and should be found unconstitutional.
According to CNN, the map was approved by the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly in October. Its contours favor conservative candidates in 10 out of the state’s 14 House seats, which could help right-leaning politicians either retain or expand their majority.
In their complaint, the coalition of plaintiffs claim that the congressional map violates provisions of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution, insofar as they were drawn to “minimize minority voting strength and dismantle existing minority opportunity districts across the state.”
“North Carolina’s minority populations have long suffered from voting discrimination and vote dilution and as a result have endured persistent disparities in political representation,” the lawsuit alleges, adding that “the state’s newly enacted congressional redistricting plan exacerbates these issues.”
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction that would prevent any elections from being conducted under the new map.
Voting materials and stickers. Image via U.S. Embassy in Chile via Wikimedia Commons (CCA-BY-2.0).
“The 2023 Congressional Plan continues North Carolina’s long tradition of enacting redistricting plans that pack and crack minority voters into gerrymanders districts designed to minimize their voting strength,” says the lawsuit, which was filed by the Elias Law Group.
CNN notes that North Carolina’s state congressional delegation is currently split 7-7 between Republicans and Democrats.
Conservatives have, in the meantime, maintained that the revised maps are fair, and that Democrats are simply seeking to retain an advantage.
“It has taken Democratic activists over a month after these maps were approved by the General Assembly to concoct these baseless allegations,” said North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore. “This is a desperate attempt to throw chaos into North Carolina’s elections, on the first day of candidate filing, no less.”
However, the lawsuit alleges that some Democrat-dominated districts—like the Charlotte-based 12th District—were redrawn to dilute the voting power of urban minorities.
The 12th and 14th districts, for instance, were “redrawn in the 2023 Congressional Plan to move reasonably compact minority communities in Mecklenburg County out of CD-14 and into CD-12. The result of this shift is to eliminate a minority-opportunity district in CD-14.”
“By strategically packing and cracking North Carolina’s minority voters, the 2023 Congressional Plan entrenches the state’s White majority and erases the gains made by voters of color in the 2020 and 2022 election cycles,” the complaint says.
Lawsuit seeks to block North Carolina congressional map, alleging it discriminates against minority voters
NC faces federal lawsuit over alleged racial bias in newly drawn congressional maps
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