Posted by Chris Hughes on June 28, 2016
The Supreme Court yesterday took up a case challenging North Carolina lawmakers' use of race while redrawing the state's congressional districts in 2011. The case, McCrory v. Harris, is an appeal by the state challenging a lower court finding that two districts were illegally packed with black voters. It joins another racial redistricting case already on the court's docket out of Virginia, Bethune Hill v. Virginia Board of Elections; the district court in that case found no illegal gerrymandering to have occurred. Rick Hasen, of the Election Law Blog, reports that the Court is likely to hear the cases together.
North Carolina is one of the states most frequently pointed to when advocates speak about the pervasive gerrymandering (both racial and political) present in congressional districting. The case now before the Supreme Court is the latest iteration of a legal battle that breaks out after every post-Census redistricting in the state, yet it could be solved by replacing North Carolina's 13 gerrymandered single-winner districts with three multi-winner districts using ranked choice voting. This reform would give voters a stronger voice in elections and provide for more proportional representation of all voters in North Carolina, even as it makes it nearly impossible to gerrymander districts for a specific result. Read more about FairVote's Fair Representation Act to learn how switching to a fair representation system would make North Carolina's elections and American democracy as a whole more fair, functional, and fully representative.