Partisan gerrymandering is receiving greater attention this year, with voters in at least three states revoking state legislatures’ power to draw district lines, and after this year’s midterm elections, North Carolina shows why such steps might be necessary.
Despite garnering just 50.3 percent of votes statewide, Republicans held on to 10 of 13 of the state’s congressional seats.
> To critics of the state’s Republican-drawn congressional districts, which have been declared unconstitutional by a panel of three federal judges, Tuesday’s results provided another example of a broken redistricting process, protecting Republicans from a strong showing by Democrats.
> Democrats have won more than 24 Republican-held seats as of Wednesday morning, according to The Associated Press, a number that could rise into the 30s.
> “The blue tide did not breach the gerrymandered sea wall that exists because of the broken redistricting process we have in North Carolina,” said Bob Phillips, the executive director of Common Cause NC. “That was what we were watching for. We were waiting to see, does anything change? Gerrymandering does provide a protective sea wall for those districts.”
Republican congressional candidates won 50.3 percent of the votes across the state, compared to Democrats’ 48.4, according to a News & Observer analysis.
Still, Republicans walked away with 77 percent of the seats.
> A three-judge panel has twice ruled the congressional districts are unconstitutional because of excessive partisan gerrymandering, with the latest ruling coming in August. The judges, which allowed Tuesday’s elections to proceed under the maps, said no future elections could use the districts as drawn. The ruling has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
> “We need to take partisan politics out of the redistricting process entirely. It’s time for leaders from both sides of the aisle to work together on an independent redistricting process that gives the people their voice,” Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action, said in a statement.