Durham, NC – Today (July 11), the NC NAACP State Conference filed court papers, an amicus curiae brief, with the 3-Judge Panel overseeing Covington v. North Carolina—the federal court action now weighing how to remedy the aggressive racial gerrymander of 2011 that has infected with racial discrimination six years of governing in the state and three election cycles. The scope of the 2011 gerrymander is extensive: unconstitutional race-based decision-making impacted at least 77 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties and 83 percent of the state’s population.
“This bad faith, all-white caucus created by racist maps must be stopped,” explained Rev. Dr. William Barber II, State Conference President of the NC NAACP and Convener of the Forward Together Moral Movement. “If the current unaccountable and unrepentant General Assembly is allowed to continue to act in the name of North Carolina, the consequences are dangerous for people of color, for those living in poverty, for women, for immigrant communities, for the LGBT community, for workers, and for our children. There can be no further question about whether this General Assembly is illegitimate.
The federal courts have ruled, and last month, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed. North Carolina has violated the Constitution in at least 3 election cycles using illegal maps that segregate voters based on race. As people of integrity and people who understand our history, we cannot allow the severe injury to our state, to our communities, and to our democracy go on any longer.
Special Elections in 2017 must be ordered to begin to remedy a six-year stain on our state’s elections and reputation and to restore some order to a state legislature so enamored by its own ill-gotten power that it has forgotten that it is a representative body that derives its power from the people, not from a digitally devised racial redistricting scheme.”
“Today, we have asked the court to take the redistricting process out of the hands of the people who illegally used race to create a legislature that does not represent the state of North Carolina equally or fairly,” Irv Joyner, legal redress chair for the NC NAACP. “The appointment of a Special Master and a judicial remedy will ensure the possibility of a non-discriminatory election in 2017 to start to renew the trust of North Carolinians in our state’s representative democracy.”
“The NC NAACP filed this brief today to provide the court with its’ unique perspective on the extent of the harm experienced by black voters in the state who have been shut out by an anti-democratic, unconstitutional process created by egregious gerrymanders.” Penda Hair, legal director of civil rights organization Forward Justice, representing the NC NAACP.
“Due to the Rucho-Lewis racial classification scheme of 2011, millions of voters have been denied equal protection under the law, and, as the NC NAACP argues today to the court, the super-majority general assembly created by these districts has been wholly unresponsive to black voters, persistently pursued a discriminatory agenda once in power, and shown a dangerous disregard for any check on its power. Equity demands immediate special elections and an injunction of special sessions and further legislation by this illegal General Assembly.”