Defeating HB 717 Is the One to Focus on in Early 2018

by January 3, 2018

How are these proposed Judicial maps Racist?

  • Reduces number of judges in largely black counties and increases the number of judicial seats in mainly white counties regardless of size.
  • Creates irregular, zigzagging judicial districts in urban counties similar to legislative districts struck down as racial gerrymanders (e.g., in Guilford County).
  • Increases the backlog of court cases for African Americans and harms alternative sentencing programs — delaying justice and increasing business for bail bondsmen like Rep. Justin Burr.

The House has already approved the bill. In 2018, the Senate is now making moves to move forward with it.

It’s time to demand your Senators stand up against judicial gerrymandering, oppose House Bill 717, and protect our courts.


What is Redistricting?

Most political representatives, from Congress to school boards to judges, are elected by voters who have been sorted into districts. Redrawing the boundary lines for these districts is called redistricting.

When does redistricting happen?

Every ten years. The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census is to be conducted every ten years in order to ensure voting districts remain roughly equal in population. The current national census was held in 2010; the next census is scheduled for 2020 and will be largely conducted using the Internet.

Who draws the districts?

In North Carolina, elected representatives are authorized to redraw the district lines for their own governmental body. School board members draw the school board lines, City Council members draw the city council lines, state legislators in the General Assembly draw the state legislative and Congressional district lines.

What is Gerrymandering?

Gerrymandering is drawing the voting district map boundaries in ways that establish a political advantage for a particular political party (Republicans or Democrats) or group. Sometimes gerrymandering results in irregular, nonsensical shaped voting districts designed to increase or decrease a specific type of voter like minorities or Republican voters.

Essentially, gerrymandering is rigging the voting system so politicians can choose their voter.

In addition to its use achieving desired electoral results for a particular party, gerrymandering may be used against minorities to dilute their voting power and diminish their voices.

Two main gerrymandering tactics

Cracking: Diluting the power of the opposing party’s supporters across many districts

Packing: Concentrating the opposing party’s voting power into one district to reduce their voting power in other districts

Time and time again we have fought back against gerrymandering. Time and time again we will keep fighting.


As of December 15, 2017, a federal three-judge panel is still reviewing two partisan gerrymandering cases that went to trial together in October 2017.

Both cases involve the 2016 congressional maps that led to a lopsided 10-3 Republican representation from North Carolina in U.S. Congress – an extreme statistical outlier, according to expert testimony.

Post-trial briefs in that case, which are expected to be the last documents needed, were filed in early November 2017. It’s unknown when the court will announce its decision.

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