Redistricting 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.
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.
Democrats won 48.3% of the votes for congressional seats, but only three of 13 seats.
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.
Democrats broke supermajorities in both the state Senate and the state House.
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 North Carolina General Assembly. North Carolinians voted in new state legislators who are committed to a fair and inclusive redistricting process.