Voting rights took a bit of a thrashing in North Carolina while the GOP held the majority in the General Assembly, but things are slowly starting to tip back in the favor of the voters in the state with two big developments: new maps and a new lawsuit.
The congressional maps designed by the Thomas Hofeller were ordered to be redrawn due to the “extreme partisan gerrymanders.” Three state judges agreed that new maps were needed prior to the 2020 election, Mother Jones reports.
According to documents provided by Hofeller’s daughter after his death, the redistricting expert had a “detailed record of both the partisan intent and the intended partisan effects of the 2016 congressional districts.” The Supreme Court had already ruled partisan gerrymandering as unconstitutional earlier this year.
— Will Doran (@will_doran) October 28, 2019
Voters may be getting another win in North Carolina with a restoration of early Saturday voting. Democrats from both a state and national level have filed a suit in Wake County asking the court to declare Senate Bill 325 unconstitutional. They say that it “unconstitutionally burdens North Carolininans.”
Senate Bill 325, which was passed in 2018, required that early voting sites remain open from 7 to 7 which was too cost-prohibitive for many counties. This caused a great number of locations to not open up for early voting. Historically, the Saturday before election day was when 6.9% of the early votes were cast, even though early voting was only available during morning hours in most counties.
According to the Charlotte Observer, early Saturday voting was popular “among key parts of the Democratic coalition—African American voters and young voters.”
North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman, Wayne Goodwin, had this to say about the lawsuit:
“North Carolina Democrats are committed to lowering hurdles to the ballot box, not erecting new ones, and we will never waver from our commitment to make voting easier and more accessible for North Carolina families.”