N.C. Democrats release “Fact Sheet” about proposed redistricting
“Fair and Legal?” How about “Divide and Conquer”?
GOP redistricting plans segregate blacks to maximize GOP advantage
For months, Republican redistricting leaders have repeatedly pledged a “fair and legal” redistricting process. Based on their plan details, a more appropriate catchphrase for GOP redistricting efforts might be “divide and conquer.”
In their redistricting plans, Republicans seek to divide North Carolina on racial lines, re-segregating black voters into a limited number of districts in order to maximize the number of GOP districts. Already, GOP-leaning groups are running victory laps, crowing about the number of new GOP-leaning Congressional seats. Some Republicans are even openly declaring their interest in running for Congress in the districts that have been customized for their success.
Republicans have tried to hide their cynical scheme behind what can only be characterized as a charade of public hearings designed in vain to make the process look “fair and legal” — when it clearly is neither. Republicans have no interest in outside input — from Democrats, independents, or anybody in the public — except where they’ve blatantly mischaracterized public input and twisted the facts.
KEY POINT #1: GOP has gerrymandered for maximum partisan advantage by segregating black voters.
Republicans admit: Race was primary factor in map-drawing.
Rep. McHenry said GOP was using “race of registered voters” to “give GOP candidates maximum advantage.” The [Raleigh] News & Observer has reported that “Rep. Patrick McHenry indicated that Republicans will use the race of registered voters as a factor in redrawing North Carolina's congressional districts to give GOP candidates maximum advantage.” [News & Observer, 5/4/11]
American Spectator: GOP maps “pack Democratic voters into both of North Carolina’s Voting Rights Act districts.” The conservative American Spectator magazine explained that the Republicans’ “new maps pack Democratic voters into both of North Carolina’s Voting Right Act districts, which have a majority of minority voters, and into a third mostly urban district in the central part of the state. That leaves the other ten districts strongly Republican, leaning Republican, or swing.” [American Spectator, 7/5/11]
Statistics confirm the extent of racial segregation in GOP redistricting plans.
47 percent of the entire black population of NC is confined to just 3 Congressional districts. In the Rucho / Lewis Congressional plan, 47 percent of the entire black population of North Carolina is located in the 1st, 4th, or 12th Congressional District. [NCGA]
50 percent of the entire black population of NC is confined to just 11 of 50 state Senate districts. [NCGA]
52 percent of entire black population of NC is confined to just 27 of 120 state House districts. [NCGA]
GOP plan boosts black population of 1st, 4th, and 12th Congressional Districts by 40 percent. Plan statistics show that the Rucho / Lewis Congress-1 Plan increases the black population in CD-1 by 27 percent and in CD-12 by 38 percent. The black population of CD-4 increased by a whopping 75 percent. Overall, the black population of the 1st, 4th, and 12th Districts has jumped by 40 percent. [US Census Bureau; NCGA]
NAACP: GOP redistricting plan “turns back the clock on civil rights.” The North Carolina NAACP reacted strongly to the Rucho-Lewis Congress 1 plan, saying the plans “continue a frontal attack on civil rights and voting rights… No matter who is in office, we cannot allow North Carolina to turn back the clock on civil rights and veer off a course that would provide equal representation for all.” [NAACP Statement, 7/1/11]
GOP racial gerrymandering leads to big, reliable Republican gains
GOP Congressional map dramatically reduces competitiveness, ensures a predictable outcome that favors GOP. The Republican Congressional map dramatically reduces the number of competitive US House districts in NC, and ensures a predictable outcome in Congressional races regardless of the political climate. The Rucho-Lewis plan decreases the number of Congressional districts that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would have won in 2008 from 6 to 3. Democrat John Kerry would have also won only 3 Congressional districts in 2004 — despite the fact that Obama won North Carolina by a narrow margin, and Kerry lost North Carolina by a wide margin.
Republicans have repeatedly tried to disenfranchise African-American voters.
Republicans pushed for Voter ID bill despite concerns that plan would disenfranchise minority voters. Republican leaders continued their push to pass a Voter ID law despite concerns that such a law would disenfranchise minority and black voters. According to the Charlotte Observer, Voter ID “has wide support among Republicans, who control the General Assembly. But critics said the bill would disenfranchise many voters who don't have a picture ID. They said the measure would affect elderly, minority and disabled voters particularly hard. ‘It's ridiculous, it's regressive, it's wrong,’ said state NAACP President William Barber.” [Charlotte Observer, 3/16/11]
Republicans pushed for further election changes that could hurt minority voting. Republican leaders have also pushed for additional restrictions on voting that would further hurt minority voters. According to the Greensboro News & Record, Senate Bill 47 rewrites election laws so “voters would no longer be able to head to the polls on Sunday or vote straight-party tickets.” According to the News & Record, “parts of the bill seemed aimed at voting laws that Democrats had exploited to their advantage in 2008 when the state went to Barack Obama for president. For example, churches in the African American community brought ‘Souls to the Polls’ during early voting on Sundays. Under this bill, Sunday early voting would end. ‘I think that's pretty shameful,; said Rep. Alma Adams, a Greensboro Democrat who said the pews-to-polls program was heavily used in Greensboro.” [Greensboro News & Record, 6/15/11]
KEY POINT #2: Republicans have held a sham redistricting process to provide cover for blatant racial segregation and gerrymandering of districts.
Republicans ignored Democratic efforts to establish legal criteria for map drawing.
Republicans refused Democrats’ request to solicit expert testimony to establish legal redistricting criteria. On May 24th, Democratic leaders wrote to Rucho and Lewis suggesting that it would be beneficial to schedule live hearings for legal experts to testify before the Redistricting Committee to help establish the legal criteria to be used for redistricting. This was especially crucial for the members of the committee and the public as a whole to develop an understanding of an increasingly complex set of rules and law. To date, this request has not been honored by the Republican redistricting chairs. [Nesbitt, Hackney and McKissick letter to Rucho and Lewis, 5/24/11]
Republicans have ignored public outcry over redistricting maps.
Asheville Citizen-Times: “If you want an example of the politicians picking their constituents, this is it.” The Asheville Citizen-Times editorial board slammed the GOP redistricting proposal: “But for crying out loud, there isn't even a pretension of any effort at anything BUT politics in these maps. The 11th District snuck into Hickory and grabbed a fistful on neighborhoods. The 12th District is so heavily gerrymandered it apparently doesn't even touch itself. If you want an example of the politicians picking their constituents, this proposal is it.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 7/5/11]
Even Republicans admit that districts are gerrymandered. In an interview, Republican Rep. Howard Coble observed that his new district under the Rucho-Lewis Congress 1 plan “is much less compact that the one I have now.” [Greensboro News & Record, 7/1/11]
Even when Republicans listen, they distort what they’ve heard.
Despite Rucho and Lewis’ claims, Butterfield said he didn’t express preference for Wake County. Rucho and Lewis claimed that they were simply accommodating Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s wishes by drawing Wake County into the 1st District. But Butterfield denied that he expressed a preference, saying, “I have never expressed to the Republican leadership my preference for the district. What I asked them to do was to keep my district in place and find 97,500 new people, half of them African-American. There are many ways that it can be done. No one gave me a choice.” [WRAL, 7/5/11]
Rucho and Lewis mischaracterized public’s comments. In a summary of public comments on redistricting, Republicans claimed that in May 5th testimony, Delilah Blanks requested “a district that reflects demographics of Bladen; add portion to majority-minority district.” Blanks actually said that “it would be my preference that we keep Bladen in one piece.” [Comments of Relevance for Section 5 Purposes, page 3; page 26]
Republicans have claimed they’ve held far more public hearings than they actually have. Republicans claim that they’ve held “36” public hearings before maps were released. In reality, Republicans held only 12 public hearings before the release of maps. [Rucho Lewis Statement, 7/1/11; NCGA Redistricting Hearing Information]