NC Democrats sue state over voting district maps

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina Democrats are helping lead a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina about voter district maps.

During a Tuesday afternoon news conference at the North Carolina Museum of History, plaintiffs joining the suit decried the current drawing, alleging it prevented a path to victory for Democrats.

"We don't have fair and legal maps in North Carolina. And we certainly have not had them at any time in this decade," said Bob Phillips, the Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina.

Common Cause is a Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit, advocacy group that has participated in similar battles in the past.

"North Carolina deserves new, fair maps where every voter can make their voice heard, regardless of their political views. Without it, we risk another decade where partisan politicians' desire for power comes before the will of the people," said Wayne Goodwin, Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Their suit argues that the current districts defy the state Constitution in three ways, specifically by violating the Equal Protection Clause, preventing equal opportunity to translate votes into representation, and by intentionally burdening protected speech of voters.

"I'm looking for fair and impartial districts so that there is genuine competition between candidates, between ideas," said Becky Harper, a voter from Cary who joined the suit.

Plaintiffs say the voting maps were based off voter data, not population.

"The party in power can create districts in which their candidates face minimal numbers of voters from the other party, ensuring victories far out of proportion," said David Brown, a plaintiff and voter from Guilford County.

In response to the lawsuit, the NCGOP described Common Cause as "left-leaning" and their lawyer, Marc Elias as "liberal." They commented on the overall lawsuit, "Only North Carolina Democrats would file a lawsuit to overturn districts that they just won."

Elias was not present during Tuesday's news conference. He is the chairman of the Political Law Practice for Perkins Coie, one of the firms representing the plaintiffs in the suit. Elias was the General Counsel for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and served in the same role for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.

The National Redistricting Foundation, a 501(c)(3) affiliate for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, will be supporting the legal fees.

To read the entire lawsuit, click here.
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