North Carolina Republican state lawmakers approved a new Congressional map Wednesday that could potentially flip multiple U.S. House seats in their party’s favor.
The new maps alter the lines for North Carolina’s 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which are currently evenly split—sparking protests from Democrats.
“North Carolina Republicans have just enacted one of the most gerrymandered maps in the country,” the National Democratic Redistricting Committee wrote on social media. “NC is a 50/50 state—but you wouldn’t know that from looking at the new maps—which cement an illegitimate advantage for the GOP. It’s shameful & undemocratic.”
Meanwhile, some Republican politicians were already taking advantage of the newly-drawn maps. For example, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) announced Wednesday that he was ending his run for governor into to make a run for North Carolina’s newly-drawn 6th Congressional district.
Under North Carolina law, the maps cannot be vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper (D), though they can potentially be the subject of lawsuits that are likely to be filed in the weeks ahead.
North Carolina’s state Supreme Court had struck down maps previously drawn by Republicans, ruling that they went against the state constitution’s barring of extensive partisan gerrymandering—but then the same court overruled that decision this past April, with justices finding that claims of partisan gerrymandering were political questions that cannot be resolved by the courts.
This past September the U.S. Supreme Court shot down for a second time Alabama Republican lawmakers’ attempts to draw maps that marginalized that state’s Black voters. A panel of Alabama District Court judges earlier this month chose a new map—with two, rather than one, Black-majority Congressional districts—from among three submitted by court-appointed experts.