The N.C. General Assembly gave final approval to new congressional and legislative districts Wednesday. The redistricting plan now awaits federal approval before being implemented for the 2012 elections.
The legislature voted largely along party lines to pass the Republican-drawn voting districts. Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue has no veto authority over redistricting bills.
With Republicans in full control of the N.C. General Assembly for the first time in more than a century, the GOP holds the reins of the redistricting process this year. While they were effectively powerless to prevent the Republican majority from passing the proposed district maps, Democrats spoke at length to heavily criticize the redistricting plan for being what they perceived as overly partisan.
Democrats also attacked the Republican-generated maps for what they said was grouping black voters into majority-minority districts so as to make surrounding areas more hospitable for the GOP.
“This plan follows principles that result in a map that is unfair, not legal, has too many split and too few whole counties,” said House Minority Leader Joe Hackney (D-Chatham, Moore, Orange).
Republican legislative leaders have indicated they will take a dual track in pursuing federal approval, sending the maps to both the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Critics of the new redistricting plan, including the N.C. Democratic Party and N.C. NAACP, have suggested that they may file suit against the Republican-produced maps.
Passage of the congressional and legislative voting maps came on the same day that the nonpartisan N.C. Center for Voter Education released a poll showing a majority of state voters concerned about gerrymandering and distrustful of either party to draw fair districts. The survey also finds that 65 percent of voters believe redistricting authority should be removed from the legislature and given to a nonpartisan body.