(The Center Square) – The North Carolina House approved a revised legislative redistricting map for House districts Wednesday after the first map was thrown out by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The court ruled Feb. 4 that legislative maps approved in November were unconstitutional because they gave Republicans a political advantage.
Supreme Court justices gave lawmakers until 5 p.m. Friday to redraw the maps. A judicial panel must approve the maps by noon Feb. 23.
The House approved its new districts, 115-5, late Wednesday night. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, said the final proposal was a result of a bipartisan compromise.
"This agreement is the result of several days of good faith discussions between House leaders in both parties," Moore said.
The General Assembly must reconstruct district maps for the Legislature and Congress every 10 years, corresponding with the release of U.S. census data. The 2020 census showed the state's population grew by more than 888,000 residents. The filing deadline for the state's May primary elections is Feb. 24.
House Minority Leader Robert Reives, D-Chatham, said new the map is consistent with the court's decision on partisan fairness. Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, said she was not sure about that because they didn't have enough time to compare the maps with the court's order.
The revised maps remove some splits in mostly-Democratic urban counties: Guilford, Wake and Mecklenburg.
Harrison filed an amendment to ensure voters in minority-majority Wayne County could select the candidate of their choice, which she said is required under the Voting Rights Act. The act prohibits discrimination in redistricting.
The House struck down the amendment, but Harrison believes it would make the state susceptible to other lawsuits.
House Redistricting Chair Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, argued the court ruled the state was not required to draw any Voting Rights Act districts.
The court has assigned three special masters to oversee the redrawing of the maps and advise the court. They also could draw their own maps for the court to consider.
The Senate now must approve the House map. The Senate also has proposed a revised Senate map that drafters said would give Democrats two more districts. Both chambers also must agree on congressional maps. Final votes on all three maps are expected Thursday.
"During the remedial map-drawing process we set out to draw maps that scored well based on the requirements of the Supreme Court's order and included as many competitive districts as possible," Sen. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus, said.