Racial Politics Could Color North Carolina’s Redistricting Map

Racial Politics Could Color North Carolina’s Redistricting Map

A new map drawn by Republicans could send a third Black member to Congress but jeopardizes four existing Democratic seats.

Published May 4, 2011

 

(Photo: Jeff Mitchell/Landov)

 

North Carolina Republicans who control the state’s General Assembly are planning to draw up a redistricting map that could result in the election of a third African-American member of Congress. That may seem like good news for Black voters, but the reality is much more complicated. The lines would be gerrymandered so that minorities would be concentrated in the districts represented by African-American members, a practice known as packing that would neutralize their voting power. That alone could prevent the map from passing a Department of Justice sniff test.

 

The Republicans’ ultimate goal is to create three more seats for their own party; their plan would put seats held by four white Democrats in jeopardy. They say that an increase in Republican voters in the Tar Heel state in the past 10 years justifies a new map that would result in nine Republicans and four Democrats.

 

“Republicans can roll the dice. But they may come up snake eyes,” warned former Tex. Rep. Martin Frost (above) in an interview with Politico. “They are trying to concentrate minority voters into as few districts as possible and to bleach surrounding districts with as little minority population as possible. It remains to be seen whether a Justice Department under Democratic control will go along.”

Written by Joyce Jones

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