Greensboro, N.C. — A panel of three federal court judges has ordered the North Carolina General Assembly to redraw legislative maps by September 1, 2017 in order to remedy the unconstitutional and racially gerrymandered districts found in the Covington v. North Carolina case. Legislative leaders had requested until November 15 to enact new maps, despite knowing for a year that they would be required to do so. In the order, the judges stated: “We agree with Plaintiffs that the General Assembly already has had ample time to enact a remedial redistricting plan.”
Twenty-eight state legislative districts must be redrawn following a finding by the federal court, unanimously affirmed by the Supreme Court, that those districts are unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.
“The court’s decision affirms the urgency with which we must address this wrong committed against North Carolina voters. Despite operating as an unconstitutional body, the General Assembly tried to delay redrawing of maps until November 15. This prompt redrawing will allow North Carolinians to, at least, rest assured knowing which districts they will be living in come the November 2018 elections, and that the federal court will be reviewing the remedial plans closely to ensure they are legal,” said Allison Riggs, senior attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
The order did not call for special elections, meaning North Carolina voters will cast ballots in new districts for the first time in the November 2018 elections.
“For far too long, the General Assembly has delayed justice for those North Carolinians who were assigned to districts solely on the basis of their skin color. Today’s decision is an important step toward correcting that the injustice — by requiring the legislature make public their plans to redraw the state’s affected districts.”
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice, along with the Poyner Spruill law firm, represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
A copy of the court order can be found here: http://www.southerncoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Covington-Order-7-31-17.pdf