North Carolina residents slammed state lawmakers Tuesday, saying they need to start over in trying to replace voting maps federal courts have deemed illegal. Lawmakers face a court-imposed Sept. 1 deadline to adopt new House and Senate district maps, and tentative votes on the proposed maps have been scheduled for Friday and next Monday. Seven public hearings were held simultaneously across the state Tuesday afternoon to gather input on the proposed maps, which were rolled out over the weekend. A steady stream of people criticized the maps as no better than the maps drawn in 2011. The U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld the findings of a panel of three federal judges who found that the Republican-led General Assembly illegally packed too many black voters into a few districts to strengthen GOP districts elsewhere.
“It looks like whoever drew this map certainly was coloring outside the lines,” said Bobbie Schaffer of Fayetteville. “If you need any help, I’d be glad to help you. I think I could do a better job.”
“Our 50/50 state is now going to be more gerrymandered than before,” said Michael Eisenberg of Raleigh.
Bob Hall, executive director of left-leaning good-government group Democracy North Carolina, said the new maps would produce competitive races for only 15 of the 170 legislative seats. “What we want and what the people want is fair maps, maps that represent people,” said Tyler Swanson of the state NAACP. “These maps are unjust.”