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GOP’s Election Hijacking Tactics Thwarted in Court

January 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

A federal appeals court orders North Carolina to redraw gerrymandered U.S. House districts in two weeks—or the court will.

When a federal appeals court threw out North Carolina’s congressional map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander this week, it didn’t just boost Democrats’ chances of winning in 2018’s midterm elections.

It served as the latest example of what the state’s GOP has done to hijack the voting process by nothing less than a political coup—or a deliberate effort to turn a once-purple state with the South’s most progressive voting laws into a red-run vote-suppressing bastion.

“It’s hard to imagine a more egregious gerrymander,” Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a University of Chicago Law School professor who has been leading the legal battle to overturn extreme redistricting at the Supreme Court, wrote on ElectionLawblog. The ruling by Judge James A. Wynn Jr. was the first time a federal appeals court struck down a congressional map as an illegal partisan gerrymander.

“The authors of the [now-overturned] North Carolina plan gleefully boasted of their partisan motives, achieved some of the worst partisan asymmetries of the last half-century, and ensured that their handiwork would be immune to all but the biggest wave—all in a state whose political geography, according to the computer simulations, mildly favors Democrats,” Stephanopoulos said.

The lengthy ruling is the third major court decision that declares North Carolina’s Republicans have broken the law when carving up the state’s electoral districts after the 2011 Census. The focus of Wynn’s ruling are the state’s 13 U.S. House seats, 10 of which are held by Republicans. That decision follows two prior federal court rulings that two House seats and 28 state legislative seats were illegal racial gerrymanders, because they drew districts using the voters' racial identities.

The congressional maps that were thrown out this week were drafted in a special legislative session in 2016 after the state lost the racial gerrymander cases. In other words, the GOP ignored those rulings and found another way to keep its House majority. 

The Republican gerrymanders were the starting line of war on blue voters this decade. After the 2010 …read more


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