Common Cause NC objects to use of redistricting simulation map in congressional districts redraw

RALEIGH – Common Cause NC is raising strong objections to state lawmakers using a so-called “Common Cause map” as a starting point for drawing new congressional districts. A select legislative committee is beginning the process of drawing a new congressional map in response to a court injunction blocking use of the current gerrymandered districts in the 2020 election.

The so-called “Common Cause map” embraced by some committee members as a place to begin drawing lines was actually crafted by a bipartisan panel of retired judges in 2016. It was part of a nonpartisan map-drawing simulation co-hosted by Common Cause NC and Duke University as an academic exercise to demonstrate what a nonpartisan redistricting process could look like.

“Sadly, some lawmakers are missing the point – it’s not a Common Cause map they should be embracing, but a Common Cause process to draw fair maps rather than partisan gerrymandered districts,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC. “Our map-drawing simulation utilizing some of the state’s most respected retired jurists was about highlighting one thing – that drawing maps in an open manner, without any influence from partisan lawmakers and without any political consideration, makes for a better redistricting process. Our goal never was, and never has been, to create a map that lawmakers or the courts should hold up as a map for the state to adopt.”

While no partisan data was used by the retired judges in drawing the map as part of the redistricting simulation in 2016, the partisan attributes of the map have since been extensively studied, including by the General Assembly leadership in prior redistricting litigation. In fact, in one of their briefs in Common Cause v. Rucho, the General Assembly’s leadership described this map as one that “contained nine districts that favored Republicans and four districts that favored Democrats.” As such, utilizing the simulation map in the current redraw would be contrary to the committee’s adopted criteria of not using election data.

Common Cause NC continues to advocate for true nonpartisan redistricting reform with a process that prohibits lawmakers from drawing the maps, provides robust public input and is fully transparent.