North Carolina

North Carolina is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation. The 2011 maps drawn by Republicans have had to be redrawn because of unconstitutional gerrymandering. In the 2018 election cycle, we made significant gains in both the state House and Senate.


How Redistricting Happened in North Carolina

The following timeline is a high-level overview outlining major redistricting events and activity in the state of North Carolina over the last 10 years.

Congressional Timeline


Census data delivered to North Carolina.

Republican-controlled legislature drew and passed new congressional and legislative maps, both of which were severely gerrymandered.


Despite winning a majority of House votes statewide, Democrats win only 4 of the 13 congressional seats.


A federal lawsuit was brought challenging two congressional districts as violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


A trial court ruled that the two challenged districts were racial gerrymanders, and ordered the state legislature to redraw the congressional map.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the State’s request to stay the trial court’s decision, and the North Carolina General Assembly implemented a new congressional map.

The General Assembly replaced a racial gerrymander with a partisan gerrymander: In 2016, the new map yielded the same partisan distribution among U.S. House representatives as the 2011 map yielded in the 2014 election.

New lawsuits were filed in federal court, challenging the 2016 remedial map as a partisan gerrymander. The suits were consolidated and litigated together.


During the partisan gerrymandering litigation, a Republican state representative admitted he drew the maps to lock in 10 of the seats for his party because it was not mathematically possible to draw a map that produced 11 seats for Republicans.

A three-judge panel in federal court struck down the 2016 map as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, but the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order staying the district court’s decision, including the remedial map process, pending appeal.

North Carolinians have the opportunity to vote in new state legislators committed to a fair and inclusive redistricting process.

State Legislature Timeline


Voters initiated a federal challenge to the state legislative map, arguing that certain state legislative districts were unconstitutional racial gerrymanders.


In the federal challenge, a judicial panel held that twenty-eight state legislative districts were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered, and ordered the General Assembly to redraw those districts.


After appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court summarily affirmed the decision of the judicial panel.

After holding a hearing about the remedial process, the federal panel ordered the North Carolina legislature to adopt new legislative maps.

To address objections lodged against some of the remedial districts, the trial court appointed a special master to prepare a report and redraw the districts that the court believed were legally infirm.


The court approved the state’s 2017 plan, as modified by the special master’s recommendations.

The U.S. Supreme Court stayed the remedial map’s revisions to the state legislative districts in part, but allowed some changes to the map to go into effect.

North Carolinians have the opportunity to vote in new state legislators committed to a fair and inclusive redistricting process.

Common Cause, the North Carolina Democratic Party, and a group of individual North Carolina voters are suing the state of North Carolina over the partisan gerrymandering of legislative maps for both chambers of the NC General Assembly. North Carolinians voted in new state legislators who are committed to a fair and inclusive redistricting process.

Know the Races that Impact Redistricting

1 Know the Decision Makers

The redistricting process is controlled by different elected officials in each state. Knowing who they are and when to vote for them is the key to creating a fairer redistricting process. Congressional lines in North Carolina are drawn by the state legislature. Legislative lines are drawn by:

  • State Senate
  • State House
  • Down Ballot

2 Know Your State Legislature

North Carolina Lower Chamber




North Carolina Upper Chamber




4 Vote

Court Cases Impacting North Carolina

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina focused too much on race when they drew two congressional districts in the state. The Supreme Court is also positioned to review a partisan gerrymandering challenge to the state’s congressional map, after the lower court found the remedial map from the racial gerrymandering case to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

Cooper v. Harris

Read the U.S. Supreme Court opinion.

Common Cause v. Rucho

Read the district court panel's opinion.

Get Involved in North Carolina Today

Join Organizing for ‘18

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee and Organizing for Action (OFA) launched a partnership to build a more fair democracy by strategically targeting legislative chambers, governorships, and ballot initiatives that will be critical in determining how maps are drawn after the 2020 Census.

Join a Local OFA Chapter

Alongside the National Redistricting Action Fund (an NDRC affiliate), OFA is engaging with activists and volunteers to help educate people about gerrymandering and involve them in the process of fixing a badly rigged political system.

Attend Events Near You

You can register to vote for the general election in North Carolina up until .

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