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NC Supreme Court hears gerrymandering case starting Wednesday

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Oral arguments are scheduled to begin Wednesday at the North Carolina Supreme Court over lawsuits that will define this year’s election in the state - and potentially for the whole decade.

Voting rights groups and Democrats sued over maps drawn by Republican lawmakers for Congressional and General Assembly seats, alleging they are illegal partisan gerrymanders designed to benefit the GOP. Western Carolina University political scientist Dr. Chris Cooper says with the primary election still set for May 17th, a court decision will have to come quickly.

"The (candidate) filing period opens February 24th, so clearly we're going to have to have a decision and new maps before the filing period opens," Dr. Cooper told Blue Ridge Public Radio. "I think mid-month you can expect some kind of decision."

If the court rules for the defendants, the current maps will be used. If the plaintiffs win, Cooper says one of three things could happen – the Republican-led General Assembly could be given another chance to draw new maps, a special master could be brought in by the court to draw new maps, or a map included in one of the lawsuits by the plaintiffs could be used. 

 

You can hear Dr. Cooper's full interview with BPR's Matt Bush above...

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.
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