US: U.S. battle over partisan electoral maps to face major test in North Carolina - PressFrom - US
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USU.S. battle over partisan electoral maps to face major test in North Carolina

13:40  12 july  2019
13:40  12 july  2019 Source:   reuters.com

North Carolina partisan gerrymandering state trial begins

North Carolina partisan gerrymandering state trial begins A North Carolina state court trial on whether legislative districts are illegal partisan gerrymanders starts just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it wasn't the purview of federal courts to decide if boundaries are politically unfair. A three-judge panel prepared for two weeks of arguments and testimony beginning Monday. Common Cause, the state Democratic Party and voters challenged House and Senate maps that Republicans drew in 2017. They say the lines maximized GOP advantage beyond what political geography can explain and want new boundaries for 2020.

“I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I Redistricting has been contentious in North Carolina for decades. With this week’ s ruling, North Carolina now faces the possibility that its House delegation will be more evenly

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a major blow to election reformers, the U . S . Supreme Court on Thursday rejected efforts to rein in electoral map manipulation by The court sided with Republican lawmakers in North Carolina and Democratic legislators in Maryland who drew electoral district boundaries that

U.S. battle over partisan electoral maps to face major test in North Carolina© Copyright 2019, dpa (www.dpa.de). Alle Rechte vorbehalten 02 July 2019, Lower Saxony, Osnabrück: There's a microphone on a table in a courtroom at the county court. A 66-year-old boy has to answer for sexual abuse of orphans in West Africa in 41 cases between January 2016 and February 2018. Photo: Friso Gentsch/dpa (Photo by Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images)

(Reuters) - After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled federal judges cannot curb partisan gerrymandering, reform advocates vowed to take their fight to state courts that retain the power to police the practice of drawing electoral lines for political advantage.

Legal battle over U.S. gerrymandering shifts to North Carolina as trial begins

Legal battle over U.S. gerrymandering shifts to North Carolina as trial begins Legal battle over U.S. gerrymandering shifts to North Carolina as trial begins

The redistricting battles in North Carolina predate the Republicans’ legislative dominance. In fact, in the 1990 s , it was conservatives who sued over the After the new maps were approved by the General Assembly, Mr. McCrory reiterated his desire to see districts drawn in a less partisan way.

The justices end a six-year fight over 2011 congressional maps that diluted black voting strength in the state.

The first major test of that strategy begins on Monday in Raleigh, North Carolina, where a three-judge panel will hear a civil trial to decide whether the state's legislative districts - designed by Republican lawmakers to give their party an edge - violate the state constitution.

If the plaintiffs succeed in overturning the state's maps, it would likely boost Democrats' chances of capturing the Republican-controlled state legislature in 2020 - and with it, the opportunity to draw new congressional districts in 2021 after the U.S. census is completed.

A court victory for the plaintiffs also could bolster parallel legal efforts in other states, experts said.

Hofeller files can be used in NC gerrymandering trial, judges rule in win for Democrats

Hofeller files can be used in NC gerrymandering trial, judges rule in win for Democrats RALEIGH, N.C. – The formerly secret files of the man who drew North Carolina's political districts before he died can be used in court by the people challenging his maps for being unconstitutional gerrymanders. A trial in the gerrymandering case is scheduled to begin on Monday, so the Friday afternoon decision by the trio of judges who will be hearing the case came at nearly the last minute. There had been a question of whether the introduction of the files — which likely contain thousands of pages of documents — could postpone the trial, but the judges did not do so Friday.

Like most U . S . states, North Carolina is politically dominated by both the Democratic and Republican political parties. North Carolina has 13 seats in the U . S . House of Representatives and two seats in

North Carolina ' s Landmark Ruling Against Partisan Gerrymanders. When Republicans took over the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011, for the first time since 1870, they had the opportunity to redraw In North Carolina , as in many southern states, there is a strong correlation between African

"It's something that people around the country are going to be watching," said Michael Li, a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School who studies redistricting.

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the North Carolina version includes a provision guaranteeing "free" elections. The lawsuit filed in state Superior Court by Common Cause North Carolina, a good-government advocacy group, and the state Democratic Party claims the current legislative map runs afoul of that principle.

In a similar case last year, the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court threw out Republican-drawn congressional maps, finding that partisan gerrymandering violated the state constitution's free elections clause. Under new maps, Democrats captured half of the state's 18 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, compared with only five in 2016.

While state court rulings are not binding in other states, judges will often consider similar cases in crafting their decisions, Li said.

Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College

Sanders says he backs abolishing Electoral College Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday night said he favored getting rid of the Electoral College. Sanders was pressed on the issue at a presidential town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). "It is hard to defend a system in which we have a president who lost the popular vote by three million votes, so the answer is yes," he said.Sanders had previously made similar remarks, but stopped short of calling for abolishing the voting body. "Presidential elections cannot be fought out in just a dozen 'battleground' states," he told The Washington Post.

The 2008 United States presidential election in North Carolina was part of the national event on November 4, 2008, throughout all 50 states and D.C.. In North Carolina , voters chose 15 representatives, or electors , to the Electoral College, who voted for president and vice president.

North Carolina is currently divided into 13 congressional districts, each represented by a member of the United States House of Representatives.

The North Carolina case is expected eventually to reach the state's Supreme Court. The court has six judges appointed by a Democratic governor and only one Republican-appointed judge, increasing the odds that a gerrymandering challenge will succeed, according to legal experts.

EXTREME GERRYMANDERING

Every decade, the boundaries of U.S. House and state legislative districts are redrawn to reflect population changes in census data; in most states, the party in power controls redistricting.

Typically, gerrymandering concentrates one party's voters in a small number of districts while diluting them everywhere else, a practice known as "packing and cracking."

The North Carolina lawsuit involves only the district lines for the state's legislature. Common Cause challenged North Carolina's U.S. congressional districts in a separate federal case that eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling two weeks ago.

But a ruling from the state Supreme Court that state legislative districts cannot be gerrymandered for partisan gain under the North Carolina constitution would likely apply equally to U.S. congressional lines, which are also drawn by state lawmakers.

Court: GOP mapmaker's files allowed in gerrymandering trial

Court: GOP mapmaker's files allowed in gerrymandering trial RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A few dozen computer files recovered from the home of a deceased Republican redistricting consultant can be offered as evidence in next week's partisan gerrymandering trial in North Carolina, state judges ruled on Friday. The three-judge panel presiding over the trial that starts Monday sided with the election reform group Common Cause, the North Carolina Democratic Party and registered Democratic voters who are suing Republican lawmakers and challenging state House and Senate boundaries drawn in 2017.

A 2020 presidential election map based on the consensus of the most respected forecasts and The winner of the presidential election must win the majority of the electoral votes — that is Some say Democrats could pursue a “Sun Belt” strategy and perhaps win Florida plus North Carolina , Arizona

This was especially true in the Solid South , where the Democratic Party was dominant for the better part of a century, from Conversely, the New England states of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire were dominated by the Republican Party, as were some Midwestern states like Iowa and North Dakota.

The current congressional map is considered by experts one of the most extreme examples of gerrymandering in the country. Republicans won nine of the state's 13 seats in 2018 and Democrats won three, with one race's results thrown out due to fraud allegations, even as Republicans won the statewide popular vote by only two percentage points.

Similarly, Republicans won majorities in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate in 2018 - despite losing the statewide popular vote.

"It doesn't provide everyone with an equal vote," said Bob Phillips, the executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. "It really is an inability of citizens to hold their elected officials accountable."

Pat Ryan, a spokesman for the state Senate's top Republican, Phil Berger, acknowledged that lawmakers took partisanship into consideration when drawing the state legislative map. But he said the constitution already imposed strict rules that limit the impact, including restrictions on dividing populous counties.

"We're subject to one of, if not the, strictest set of rules governing how those maps can be drawn," he said. He also said even nonpartisan maps tend to favor Republicans, given how Democratic voters tend to cluster in urban areas.

The trial is expected to last up to two weeks. The judges are likely to issue their verdict weeks or months after the proceeding ends, which will almost certainly be followed by an appeal to the state Supreme Court from the losing side.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)

What Happens If the 2020 Election Is a Tie?.
The House of Representatives resolves inconclusive presidential elections—and while Democrats may hold most of the seats, Republicans control more state delegations.

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