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March 22, 2004


Bill Peaslee, (919) 828-6423


It’s The NC Constitution, Stupid!


(RALEIGH) – The North Carolina Republican Party today responded to the NC Democrat Party’s half-truths and misrepresentation of the Republican redistricting lawsuit.  Scott Fahlmen, NCDP Executive Director, called for the Republican plaintiffs to drop the lawsuit in the state court because “The GOP lawsuit claims that the maps violate federal law – a claim that is disputed by the Department of Justice's findings.”


The Republican lawsuit asserts that the legislative redistricting maps passed by the General Assembly in November 2003 do not comply with the North Carolina Constitution or the Stephenson Supreme Court decision.  Only part of the complaint was based upon the violation of Federal law, specifically the dilution of minority voting strength.


“I disagree with the Justice Department’s assertion that the maps passed by the General Assembly do not dilute minority voting strength,” said Ferrell Blount, Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.  “But that has never been the main thrust of our case.  We are seeking maps that strictly comply with the Stephenson decisions, using politically neutral criteria.”


To quote Speaker Richard Morgan’s Chief of Staff, Sabra Faires, “The Stephenson decision requires the General Assembly to establish as many two-county clusters as possible and to maximize the total number of clusters.”


The adopted pro-Democrat 2003 House map, for example, includes 10 one-county combinations and 12 two-county combinations.  A plan offered by Rep. Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston), a plaintiff in the Stephenson case, offers fewer divided counties, including 11 single-county clusters and 14 two-county clusters.  The adopted Senate map has similar flaws.


“I would like to remind the North Carolina Democrat Party that the 2001 plans were pre-cleared by the Justice Department, but were later declared unconstitutional by the North Carolina Supreme Court,” added Blount. 


“I call upon the Democrat leadership in the General Assembly to prevent any further delay in the primary by drawing redistricting maps which comply with the North Carolina Constitution.  These maps must respect county boundaries and communities of interest, while allowing the voters a fair choice without the Democrats rigging the election by adopting gerrymandered maps.”