Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly, Montgomery) said last week that the North Carolina House will pass legislation redrawing the maps under which state judges and district attorneys are elected without any information being made available to the public about how current judges and prosecutors will be impacted.
Lawmakers in the House Select Committee on Judicial Redistricting will vote on the new maps tomorrow, which will dramatically alter the districts in which judges and district attorneys across the state are elected. As of earlier today, they were set to vote on the maps without any idea of who would be affected, who would be “double-bunked,” who stands to lose their seat on the bench or which districts would be affected positively or negatively.
This stands in sharp contrast to when the General Assembly recently redrew legislative maps. At that time, lawmakers not only knew what district each of them would fall under, they actually considered incumbency protection as a criterion in the mapmaking process.
Judicial stakeholders were not informed or consulted about the maps in House Bill 717. Indeed, the criteria for making the new judicial maps have not been made public. For more background on this story, click here and here.
The team at NC Policy Watch thought it important to remove the blinders so that legislators will have a chance to make an informed decision on HB 717, and their constituents will have a chance to analyze the maps before deciding whether or not to show up for public comment. Accordingly, we have prepared the maps that appear below.
All three maps reflect the most up-to-date proposed districts in HB 717 (released at 11:58 p.m. Monday) – prosecutorial, district court and superior court – and indicate the districts in which all current incumbents would have to run for office based on their addresses of residence. (Note: While residential addresses were used in preparing the maps below, we chose not to include that information in this report in order to protect the privacy of the elected officials involved.)
The maps also include information about elected officials’ party affiliations. Judges typically try to remain nonpartisan, but since there are partisan gerrymandering allegations with regard to HB 717, NC Policy Watch included party affiliations in the maps.
All of the information contained in the maps is public – judges and district attorneys must be registered to vote through the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to run for office.
More analysis from NC Policy Watch about the maps will be forthcoming.
The judicial redistricting committee is set to meet at 10 a.m. tomorrow in room 544 of the Legislative Office Building. The committee will hear a presentation on the newest maps and then there will be time for public comment. Afterward, the committee will vote on whether or not to move HB 717 forward. Live audio from the meeting can be accessed via the General Assembly’s website by clicking here.