Raleigh, NC — Voting rights advocates Democracy North Carolina, the North Carolina NAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, and four individual plaintiff-voters filed a lawsuit in Wake County Superior Court today (Feb. 21) challenging four N.C. House districts in Wake County enacted by the N.C. General Assembly after certain 2011 state legislative districts were found to be racial gerrymanders. The lawsuit challenges N.C. House Districts 36, 37, 40, and 41; the plaintiffs are represented by the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
Plaintiffs allege that the N.C. General Assembly’s changes to these districts in 2017 were not necessary to remedy past racial gerrymanders and therefore violate the state constitution’s bar on redistricting more than once per decade.
The complaint was filed one week after a three-judge panel in the same court found that challenged congressional and legislative districts in the state’s longest-running redistricting lawsuit (Dickson v. Rucho) were unconstitutional, but that the districts in question should be resolved in a separate lawsuit.
“For too long, North Carolina voters have been denied fair voting districts, free of tampering by politicians in Raleigh,” said Tomas Lopez, Executive Director at Democracy North Carol
As part of the lawsuit, plaintiffs are seeking an immediate injunction to prevent lawmakers from conducting 2018 elections using the disputed Wake County districts, and for the court to restore the 2011 districts in compliance with state and federal law.
“Democracy North Carolina and our other organizational clients have been fighting for fair and legal districts since 2011,” said Allison Riggs, senior voting rights attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and lead attorney in the case. “It is not acceptable for lawmakers to substitute another constitutional violation for the one they’ve been ordered to remedy. Both the federal and state constitutions can and must be respected.”
Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and advocacy to increase civic participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and remove systemic barriers to voting and serving in elected office.