January 15, 2020 Feature

Common Cause v. Lewis: Partisan Gerrymandering Claim Held a Justiciable Controversy under North Carolina Constitution

By Breonna A. Grant and Benjamin E. Griffith

Justice delayed is justice denied for the people of North Carolina who have yet to vote in an election with constitutional maps since the 2010 census was completed. —Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

Partisan gerrymandering is the intentional manipulation of district boundaries to discriminate against a group of voters on the basis of their political views. In this sense, it is the act of creating restrictive barriers that negatively affect a district’s voting agency. The divisive nature of partisan gerrymandering strategically segments electoral districts to favor the specific political interest of a particular party, and it can thus be used to effectively dilute the voting strength of an opposing party. Such practices, often accompanied by packing and cracking of districts, can and do result in electoral districts that resemble winding snakes rather than compact political subdivisions. Ultimately, these splice-and-dice divisions can adulterate minority party voting strength while undermining democracy.

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