Court Will Redo N.C. Maps if GOP Doesn’t: Ballots & Boundaries

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North Carolina Republicans have until Feb. 18 to redraw congressional and state legislative maps deemed unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. If they don’t, a state trial court will do it for them.

“We are working to come up with some criteria based upon what we believe the Supreme Court was saying in its ruling, although it’s a little bit nebulous in some ways,” House Speaker Tim Moore (R) said on the House floor yesterday.

Republicans were favored to win 10 seats under the overturned map, which adds a district to reflect population growth. Right now there’s a GOP/Democratic split of 8–5.

The Feb. 4 court order gives plaintiffs who alleged illegal gerrymanders that disadvantaged Black and Democratic voters the chance to propose their own maps. Then the Wake County Superior Court has until noon on Feb. 23 — a day before candidate qualifying is to begin — to choose or adopt its own map.

North Carolina’s legislative maps, congressional maps or both were settled through lawsuits in every redistricting cycle since 1980, including several lawsuits that took most of a decade to resolve. “That’s maybe the only good thing about us being professional redistricters here,” said Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University. “We’ve been down this road before, frequently.” — Chris Marr

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Tally: 31 Completed

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let the November election proceed in Alabama under contested congressional lines, the U.S. House district configuration has been set in 31 states.
Read more: Top Court Restores Alabama Map in Blow to Black Voting Power

The finished maps:
Alabama|Arizona | Arkansas | California| Colorado |Georgia |Hawaii| Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kentucky |Maine | Maryland| Massachusetts | Michigan | Mississippi |Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Jersey | New Mexico |New York | Oklahoma | Oregon |South Carolina |Tennessee| Texas | Utah | Virginia| West Virginia

See also: Democrats Newly Vulnerable by Redistricting Lag in Race for Cash

LOUISIANA: DEBATE TODAY
Later today the Republican-controlled Louisiana House will discuss bills (H.B. 1 and S.B. 5)redrawing the state’s six U.S. House seats.
The Baton Rouge Advocate reports the maps advancing in both legislative chambers won’t create new majority-Black districts, which is what Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) and other Louisiana Democrats want. Sounds like another state that’s courthouse-bound. — Jennifer Kay

FLORIDA: DESANTIS IN A HURRY
Florida’s legislative leaders and attorney general want the state Supreme Court to settle a question raised by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over maintaining a majority-Black district. Some groups that successfully challenged maps drawn a decade ago are arguing that the court shouldn’t get involved until the legislature produces a new map.

DeSantis has asked the Florida Supreme Court “whether the Florida Constitution’s non-diminishment standard mandates a sprawling congressional district in northern Florida that stretches hundreds of miles from East to West solely to connect black voters in Jacksonville with black voters in Gadsden and Leon Counties (with few in between) so that they may elect candidates of their choice, even without a majority.” U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D) currently represents the district. — Jennifer Kay

KANSAS: OVERRIDE STRUGGLE
Kansas Republicans are laboring to secure the votes they need to enact a congressional map over the veto of Gov. Laura Kelly (D). The state Senate’s first override attempt failed last night, falling three votes short of the 27 required.

To pull this off, two of the four Republicans who voted no have to flip their votes. Senate President Ty Masterson, the sponsor of the Republican-friendly map, could move to reconsider the vote later today. — Greg Giroux

TENNESSEE: 8 TO 1
Tennessee’s new congressional map favors Republicans in eight of nine districts and even before the bill became law it had forced the retirement of 16-term Rep. Jim Cooper.

It includes a three-way split of Cooper’s Democratic-leaning home base, Davidson County (Nashville). READ MOREGreg Giroux

NEW YORK: COURTHOUSE BOUND
Majority Democrats say they’re sure New York’s congressional district lines will survive court scrutiny. The map will give Republicans a tough time in all but four seats. Read more: N.Y. Congress Map With Democratic Edge Challenged in CourtKeshia Clukey

PENNSYLVANIA: SPECIAL MASTER’S CHOICE
A hearing is set for next week on a Pennsylvania judge’s recommendation that the state Supreme Court approve the redistricting congressional plan (H.B. 2146) that Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed. Pennsylvania’s highest court had asked Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough (R) to choose from 13 proposals after Wolf and lawmakers hit an impasse. — Jennifer Kay

NEW JERSEY: COULDA BEEN BETTER
Though New Jersey’s Supreme Court let a Democratic-drawn congressional map stand, the justices made a point of suggesting improvements for next time.

The court noted that panels in California, Arizona, Michigan, and Colorado include citizens with no party affiliation. showing “there are other ways to conduct the redistricting process.”

Source: New Jersey Redistricting Commission

The court rejected a Republican legal challenge, noting that New Jersey’s redistricting commission is dominated by six Democrats and six Republicans who drew competing maps and sought the swing vote of the tie-breaking 13th member, former state Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace Jr. — Greg Giroux

Voting Law

FLORIDA, MISSISSIPPI DEBATE RESTRICTIONS
Amid a federal trial over ballot access restrictions enacted last year, a Florida Senate committee has advanced legislation (S.B. 524) that would require Florida voters to add part of their driver’s license or Social Security numbers when returning their vote-by-mail ballots. The same bill would create a state office dedicated to investigating election law violations and require local elections supervisors to update their voter rolls every year.

A Mississippi bill (H.B. 1510) ready for a House floor debate would require social media companies to detail to the Secretary of State’s office why their platform has restricted posting by a political candidate or an election official. The secretary of state also would be authorized to hire third parties to audit election results. — Jennifer Kay

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To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Marr in Atlanta at cmarr@bloomberglaw.com; Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bgov.com; Jennifer Kay in Miami at jkay@bloomberglaw.com; Keshia Clukey in Albany, N.Y. at kclukey@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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