NDRC: In North Carolina, Republican Politicians Are Drafting Rigged Maps That Split Communities Apart

October 21, 2021

Raleigh, NC — Today, Lekha Shupeck, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee’s State Director for North Carolina, released the following statement in response to maps that have been submitted by Republican state legislators: 

“Republican legislators have drawn maps that would split apart communities of interest across North Carolina from the Sandhills to the Triad. You do not need to be an expert to see that a map that creates nine or more safe Republican congressional seats out of 14 total in a 50-50 state is a map that has a partisan bias. North Carolinians made it clear during recent public hearings that they want an end to partisan gerrymandering and for their communities to be kept together as much as possible. These maps show that Republican legislators chose to completely disregard their words. North Carolinians are sick and tired of these partisan tactics that dilute their voices in our democracy and they deserve better. My hope is that Republican legislators will work with their Democratic colleagues to create districts that are fair, accurately reflect the competitive nature of North Carolina, and keep communities of interest together as much as possible.”


Taken together, there are common themes among the Republican-drafted maps and the process that led up to them. Below are some of the alarming themes we have seen: 

  1. Dilutes the Voices of Diverse, Populous Urban Areas and Communities of Interest: We’re seeing maps that are splitting apart some of the most populous and diverse areas of the state, such as Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, and Wake County, which includes Raleigh. The proposed Republican maps split both counties into at least three congressional districts. To underscore how egregious this is, Mecklenburg County, for example, has a population of more than one million. The ideal population of a congressional district in North Carolina is 745,671. The only reason to split that county into more than two districts would be to dilute the votes of the people who live there.
  2. Dismisses Public Testimony: North Carolinians who testified in public hearings leading up to these maps made one thing clear: they want partisan gerrymandering to end and they want their communities to be kept together as much as possible. The proposed Republican maps do the opposite. For example, more than half of those who testified at public hearings in the Sandhills region asked for a congressional district centered on Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Moore counties. Doing this would allow people from this distinct geographic and cultural area of North Carolina to elect a representative who is of and for the people of the Sandhills. The North Carolina Sandhills region has some of the highest levels of poverty in North Carolina and in recent years has dealt with multiple 500-year floods as a result of climate change. This region is also home to Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the United States, and the Lumbee Tribe, the largest indigenous community east of the Mississippi River. Keeping this community together isn’t partisan, it’s common sense. 
  3. Manipulates the Map in Favor of Republicans: North Carolina is a 50-50 state and a fair map should reflect its competitive nature. In 2020, President Biden lost the state narrowly by just 1/8th of a percentage point, while Gov. Roy Cooper won with 51.5 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, North Carolina Republicans have sought to increase their disproportionate representation by putting forward maps that create 9 or more safe Republican congressional seats out of 14 total seats. One map even creates a minimum of 12 GOP seats out of 14.
  4. Favors Politicians Over People: The 2020 Census data indicates that most of the population growth in North Carolina occurred in metro Charlotte and the Research Triangle area, but the submitted Republican maps anchored the new 14th congressional district in rural Cleveland County, which saw a loss in population according to the data. This county also happens to be the home of Republican House Speaker, Tim Moore, who is reportedly rumored to be considering a run for U.S. Congress. The new 14th congressional district should be reflective of where population growth has been highest, and be anchored in the Research Triangle area — it should not be drawn to favor a politician. 
  5. Lacks Transparency: Prior to the proposal of draft maps, a series of public hearings were held across the state in September. Those hearings were not accessible to most North Carolinians. Those who could show up in-person had to navigate last-minute venue changes and inconvenient hearing times and locations. The hearings that are currently scheduled repeat this same pattern. Hearings are only four days away and have not been widely publicized by the legislature. The schedule only contains a very limited number of hearing locations with no specific addresses listed, and it includes times that are inaccessible for the majority of working people. While there are virtual hearings scheduled at this time, there is still no provision made for the large number of North Carolinians who do not have access to high-speed internet. If the legislature genuinely wants input from the public, this is not the way to accomplish that goal.


North Carolina’s voters are closely split among Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated, but because of partisan gerrymandering, the state’s current congressional delegation leans heavily Republican. The congressional map drawn by Republican lawmakers following the 2010 Census was one of the most egregiously racially gerrymandered in the country. In 2016, Republican lawmakers redrew North Carolina’s congressional map to create extreme partisan gerrymanders, including the infamous line that split North Carolina A&T State University – a historically black university – into two separate congressional districts in order to dilute the votes of students.

In 2019, courts forced lawmakers to redraw both the congressional and state legislative maps because they contained extreme partisan gerrymanders in violation of the North Carolina Constitution. But they are still biased in favor of the GOP. In 2020, Republicans won 51 percent of the congressional vote statewide, but hold eight of 13 congressional seats. Similarly, in the State House, Republicans won 50 percent of the vote statewide in 2020, but hold 18 more seats than Democrats in the 120-seat chamber.