A plan to redraw North Carolina’s court districts has emerged in the final days of the General Assembly’s session, and is on a fast track to clear the state House. Three election maps – for superior and district court judges and district attorneys – would be changed through a bill whose proponents say it would realign districts to better reflect population growth, geography and workloads. In some cases the maps create new, smaller districts and in other cases they add judges to existing districts.
Democrats say the outcome would strongly favor Republican candidates, and questioned whether the maps would violate federal election discrimination laws that the state has already been found to have violated when it drew legislative and congressional districts.
Under the plan, judges would be allowed to finish their terms while the new districts are phased in. The bill sets out a schedule for when elections under the new districts are held, stretching to 2028. In the meantime, districts could be altered after the next round of federal Census results in 2020.
House Bill 717 emerged Sunday night, when lawmakers posted the maps on Twitter.