News & Observer: Federal court orders new NC legislative elections in 2017

Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers must redraw their legislative districts by March 15 and hold new elections by the end of next year, a federal court ruled Tuesday.

That order follows up on a ruling from this summer that found lawmakers had unconstitutionally relied on race when they drew 28 state House and Senate districts.

Although lawmakers had told the court they should be given more time to redraw their districts and should not have to hold elections until 2018, the three-judge panel disagreed.

“This gives the State a total of seven months from the time the districts were held to be unconstitutional, which is longer than it took the 2011 legislature to redistrict the entire state,” read the order, which was drafted by a three-judge federal district court panel. (Read more)

Breaking News: Federal court orders NC law makers to redraw districts, hold new General Assembly elections in 2017 – WRAL

In a unanimous ruling Tuesday, a three-judge panel ordered the General Assembly to redraw 28 North Carolina state house and senate districts by March 15, 2017, and to hold a special primary and general election in the fall of 2017.

Additional information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Read more at http://www.wral.com/news/page/12706857/?break_id=16213#qAC4qVmeRoQeTzaK.99

NC Supreme Court: Newby can participate in redistricting case

RALEIGH — Democrats, the state NAACP and other groups suing over the legislature’s redistricting plans learned Monday that the state Supreme Court has rejected their request that Justice Paul Newby recuse himself from participating in the case.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said the groups were disappointed by the decision, but believe they will win the larger case. (More)

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Redistricting

News Release: NC NAACP, Democracy NC, LWV and Randolph Institute to Sue Over Redistricting Maps

Stationary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 2, 2011

For More Information: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137

Mrs. Amina Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700

Atty. Jennifer Marsh, Legal Redress Coordinator, 919-682-4700

Atty. Irv Joyner, Legal Redress Chair, 919-530-6293

Atty. Al McSurely, Communications Chair, lawyers@mcsurely.com

DURHAM – Yesterday, after it spent 60 days looking at a cleverly designed scheme to resegregate voters in North Carolina, the U.S. Department of Justice informed us that the U.S. Attorney General did not "interpose any objection" to the scheme. The next sentence in the letter said, "However, we note that Section 5 expressly provides that the failure of the Attorney General to object [to a redistricting scheme] does not bar subsequent litigation (our emphasis) to enjoin the enforcement of the changes."

That’s exactly what we shall do this Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. in Wake County Superior Court.  We are honored to be co-plaintiffs with the League of Women Voters, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and Democracy, NC — organizations that have had their hands on the Plow of Democracy for a long time — as we file a lawsuit asking our North Carolina courts to stop this cleverly disguised race-based scheme.

We shall sue the leaders of the NC House and Senate, Thom Tillis and Phil Berger.  They paid good taxpayer money to outside consultants to develop a scheme to resegregate minority voters and dilute our voting power.

These consultants know that blatant Jim Crow acts are illegal, so they came up with their James Crow schemes instead. Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow uses surgical tools to cut out the heart of black political power. James Crow uses high-tech, clever consultants to pick apart black communities block by block and increase the prosperity of a few Americans by trying to divide, segregate, and fool the rest of us.

We also name the State of North Carolina and the State Board of Elections as defendants in our lawsuit, since they are charged with carrying out this race-based plan.

We welcome the media to join us at the Wake County Courthouse at 10:00 a.m., Friday morning, November 4, 2011, where our attorneys from Southern Coalition for Social Justice will distribute copies of our filed complaint. A news conference will follow.

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Redistricting

Big holes in new NC voting maps – Source: WRAL

North Carolina’s new voting maps could be in trouble. 

The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to announce this week whether the maps have their approval as required by the Voting Rights Act.

But on Monday, it was discovered that a software glitch in one of the programs used to draw the maps left thousands of voters off the maps entirely. In the House maps, more than 5,700 voting blocks were not assigned to districts. The Senate map missed 3,200 blocks.

The errors affect nearly half the districts in each chamber. (Read more)

Barber says NAACP will challenge redistricting plan–Source: NBC 17

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina NAACP plans to challenge the new Congressional districts in court, the Rev. William Barber said Thursday.

Barber said the districts, which were drawn by a committee of the Republican-led General Assembly, violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965. (Read more)

I don’t give a damn about folks opinion of "our" President because . . .

I don’t give a damn about folks opinion of "our" President because if black folks are not following the real fights such as following the redistricting process across the nation and filing lawsuits to challenge them, then we will be living in pure hell for the next 10 years until the next Census.

Hell I guess "our" President will be blamed for the Republicans re-drawing the lines.

However I will challenge the President haters every opportunity I get as long as time permits.

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Redistricting

Proposed N.C. voting maps confound – Source: News & Observer

New Republican-drawn voting maps for legislative races will slice through neighborhoods in unprecedented ways, possibly leading to confusion at polling places next year.

And by isolating black voters in new districts, it will make other seats easier for Republicans to win, perhaps helping them build on their new legislative majority. (Read more)

State and Local Leaders Gather at Historic St. Paul AME Church to Challenge Redistricting Process

Stationary

For Immediate Release

August 15, 2011

Contact: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President, 919-394-8137

Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700

Atty. Jennifer W. Marsh, Legal Redress Coordinator, 919-682-4700

State and Local Leaders Gather at Historic St. Paul AME Church to Challenge Redistricting Process

We gather at St. Paul AME Church, founded 163 years ago. Twenty years after the church’s founding, 143 years ago, the Freeman’s Convention met at this church to fight for the rights of African-Americans to vote and be represented in places of power and elect representatives of their choice.

On July 2nd, 47 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. We stand here 46 years after the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, passed in August of 1965, and we still have to wage a battle for the rights of all people to vote. Using the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act outlaws states from imposing any "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color." It was less than 20 years ago that counties in eastern North Carolina covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act were able to elect an African-American Congressperson. This is not old history.

Today we gather to discuss the proposed voting district plans created by the Republican, ultra-conservative, tea party backed legislators who have taken over the General Assembly.

They passed a proposed set of new voting districts that dramatically alter the political landscape of this state for the next ten years or more. The maps racialize every election and every election district if they are precleared and approved.

In their 2002 book, "The Rise of Southern Republicans" two professors, Dr. Earl Black and his brother, Dr. Merle Black, predicted this racialized strategy. The new Republican strategy is two-fold: make as many Congressional and Legislative seats as possible in White districts while packing Black voters into as many compact segregated districts as possible and then run race-baiting and divisive campaigns.

Taking a page from this playbook, North Carolina’s conservative leadership has created and approved highly polarized, partisan, and gerrymandered maps. These plans create unnecessary racial disparity. We oppose these plans which exploit the Voting Rights Act for partisan advantage. We oppose the process in which these maps were created, which was far from open and transparent. Now we are saddled with a set of plans that are not in the best interest of the people or the state.

Here are a few of the many reasons we are against these plans:

The three state-wide redistricting maps do not allow North Carolinians to elect the representatives that would most closely reflect the political make-up of the state. For example, the Congressional Plan gives Republicans an advantage in 10 of North Carolina’s 13 Congressional districts. Currently there is a 7 to 6 split in our state. This closer divide more accurately reflects the partisan make up of our state. The proposed plan demonstrates its partisan advantage in pairing two Democratic incumbents in the same district for four of our seven Democratic Congressional incumbents. Yet no Republican incumbents are paired under the Congressional plan. The plan also splits 66 precincts and 40 counties, significantly more than necessary to comply with state and federal law.

These maps were designed to limit Black voting strength by packing and stacking Black voters into a few districts. Fifty percent of the entire Black population of North Carolina is confined to just 11 of 50 state Senate districts. Fifty-two percent of the entire Black population of NC is confined to just 27 of 120 state House districts. The plans unnecessarily concentrate minority voters into districts that consistently elect a minority candidate of choice. The plans consequently dilute minority influence in other districts. As we know, none of the current seven African-American members of the state Senate are elected from a district where the Black voting age population exceeds 50 percent.

It was 1992 before District 1, a district largely covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, was able to elect an African-American to the US Congress. The ultra-conservative leaders in Raleigh used the redistricting process as an opportunity to remove 20,000 African Americans living in Section 5 counties from District 1. They were replaced by minorities from more urban areas not covered by Section 5. The voters removed from District 1 will not have political influence necessary to elect the representative of their choice. This action flies in the face of the intent of the Voting Rights Act.

To date North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has not submitted the newly enacted maps for preclearance to the United States Department of Justice or District of Columbia District Court on behalf of the North Carolina Legislature. The conservative leadership of North Carolina has suggested it does not trust North Carolina’s Attorney General or the US Department of Justice.

The conservative leadership is also taking the unnecessary step to file the maps with the DC District Court, instead of the standard process of submitting the maps to the US DOJ alone for preclearance. Their plan is to submit the maps simultaneously to the US Department of Justice and the DC District Court, which has never been done before. They are taking the extra step of submitting the maps to the DC District Court, with its three conservative judges, because they do not trust the Department of Justice under the current administration.

The state-wide redistricting maps are not the only documents that bear the mark of the conservative-led General Assembly. Our representatives also passed bills in 2011 that removed the local redistricting process from the hands of the local officials and citizens. Instead the legislators in Raleigh controlled the process in many localities by passing redistricting plans with no local input. Many counties were stunned by this overreaching process that ultimately ignored their voices. The most recent bill redistricted Mecklenburg, Guilford, Lenoir and Buncombe counties against their wishes.

In the end, the Republican leadership pushed through a series of maps that disrespects the minority vote and creates an unfair advantage for conservative candidates for the next ten years or more. There are ways to create fair and legal maps. Maps that respect the minority vote. Maps that meet the legal requirements of the Voting Rights Act. Our leaders have instead given us redistricting plans that are a return to segregation and racial isolation for partisan advantage.

In 1909, the NAACP was founded and created with the mission to promote civil rights, including securing for them "impartial suffrage" or voting. And, we must declare today here at the beginning of the 21st Century the NAACP must still lead the effort to protect the power, necessity and potential of the Black vote.

Because of the power, necessity and potential of the Black, Brown and Progressive vote, we must fight any attempts to suppress, segregate isolate, or steal the power, necessity, and potential of the Black vote.

Because everything we fight for, equal protection under the law, educational equality, economic justice, access to healthcare, are all directly impacted by voting, we must fight any attempt to suppress, segregate, isolate, or steal the power, necessity, and potential of the black vote!

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Message From the First Congressional District Chair Don Davis, All proposed NC redistricting maps are in!

**** Breaking News ***
FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT DEMOCRATS

All proposed NC redistricting maps released

The co-chairmen of North Carolina’s Redistricting Committee have released all of the proposed district maps for North Carolina. Please click on US House of Representatives, NC Senate and NC House of Representatives to view a copy of these proposed maps. If passed, subject to review by the United States Department of Justice, then these proposed maps could become effective for the 2012 election cycle.