RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There was no final decision Wednesday after a federal judge heard arguments about a challenge to North Carolina's newly redrawn State Senate maps.
A group of voters filed a challenge with the newly redrawn State Senate districts, claiming they are a racial gerrymander diluting the power of Black voters in northeastern North Carolina.
The challenge centers on two districts in the heart of the historic Black Belt region of northeastern North Carolina. The plaintiffs argued there is a strong enough Black population to create a district where a Black-supported candidate could have a fair shot of winning an election.
Instead, they say, the area was split down the middle, with both districts, the new District 1 and District 2 stretching down the coast to the Outer Banks and beyond, creating two majority-White districts.
Under the new lines, District 1 covers Northampton, Bertie, Hertford, Gates, Perquimans, Pasquotank, Camden, Currituck, Tyrrell, and Dare counties.
District 2 would cover Warren, Halifax, Martin, Chowan, Washington, Hyde, Pamlico, and Carteret counties.
On Wednesday, In a Raleigh federal court, some of the arguments centered on whether a district needed to be 50% Black or more to satisfy the Voting Rights Act. In some cases, a slightly smaller minority population can be enough, but Senate Minority Leader Dan Blue, a Democrat, who was at the hearing said he believes the way these districts are drawn, it would not be a fair ballgame for Black voters in the northeastern part of the state.
"Not in these districts. I think the data is basically incontestable that based on the polarized voting in this area of the state over the past several elections, the way it's been, the increasing the polarization and the voting patterns, I don't think that a minority can be elected in those districts," he said.
Meanwhile, attorneys representing Republican leadership behind the new lines argued that this was about political polarization, not racial polarization. The attorneys declined to comment after the hearing and haven't responded to our requests for comment.
But in the end, time may not be on the plaintiffs' side -- the judge wants to wait for a decision from the 4th Circuit before any possible injunction, but the clock is ticking. The primary elections are scheduled for March.