Editorials

Republican overreach on NC voting maps will be to blame for any disruption of elections

rwillett@newsobserver.com

As a constitutional scholar, Republican state Sen. Bob Rucho of Matthews is a good dentist (his actual profession). The same goes for his skills as an architect of congressional and legislative district maps.

Now, thanks to blatant gerrymandering of the state’s congressional districts – something Republicans knew they were doing when they drew new Republican-flavored maps after the 2010 census – North Carolina is in a legal mess. A federal judges’ panel has ruled that two congressional districts, the 1st and the 12th, are unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering to reduce the influence of black voters by packing them into certain districts. And Judge William Osteen, a panel member, wrote for the court denying an appeal from Republicans who wanted the judges to allow elections to proceed under current lines. The U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say.

Rucho says the ruling could throw elections “into chaos.” It was he and his Republican mates on Jones Street who tempted chaos. Osteen seemed to repudiate the senator’s view.

There now are five federal lawsuits involving North Carolina’s voting maps and challenges to voting suppression laws such as voter ID, along with the absurd redrawing of district lines for the Greensboro City Council and the Wake County school board. All because Republicans in power couldn’t resist the temptation to put the fix in on elections to help preserve their power.

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