Redistricting options from NC senators released to public

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — After two weeks of mapmaking in open meeting rooms, North Carolina senators have presented some proposals to the public on how they might redraw congressional or state Senate district lines for the next decade.

The Senate Redistricting Committee posted several maps online late Tuesday that Republicans or Democrats have produced this month at computer terminals set up in the committee room. More are expected as Senate Democrats worked on plans Wednesday.

The author of each Senate map option isn’t identified, but Republicans have offered congressional plans that would appear to give GOP candidates a good chance to win at least 10 of the state’s 14 U.S. House seats. Plans from Democrats could see their candidates winning seven seats.

Republicans currently hold eight of the state’s 13 U.S. House seats. North Carolina is getting an additional seat due to population gains over the past decade.

The proposals that would favor more Republican winners would divide both Wake and Mecklenburg counties into at least three districts. The map used in the 2020 elections had the two most populous counties covering two districts each.

The House Redistricting Committee is expected to keep its room open through Friday for legislators to draw maps at terminals there. The House panel had not posted member drawings as of Wednesday.

Since mapmaking rooms opened Oct. 6, the public has been able to view online video and audio of the committee room and activity on computer screens where drawing happens.

The committees held more than a dozen public hearings across the state last month to receive citizen input. It’s not immediately clear whether more hearings or formal input would be sought before lawmakers vote on specific measures.

Legislators are aiming to approve boundaries for General Assembly and U.S. House districts by early next month. Candidate filing is scheduled to begin Dec. 6, with primaries set for March 8.

Since Republicans control both the House and Senate, GOP political fortunes are expected to be at least the same if not better should the proposals they embrace be enacted and withstand legal scrutiny.

Redistricting plans aren’t subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto stamp. Democrats and their allies have questioned decisions by Republican lawmakers to prohibit the use of race-based statistics in drawing lines, saying they are needed to ensure compliance with the U.S. Voting Rights Act.

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