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Restoring Power to the People

AN EXPLAINER OF NC NAACP v. MOORE

What is Racial Gerrymandering and How Does It Weaken Voting Power

Racial gerrymandering is the practice of redrawing district maps  to attempt to dilute the voting power of disenfranchised communities and communities of color.  It has a direct impact on our elected officials and who represents our voice.

 

Racial Gerrymandering in North Carolina

In 2011, a group of extremist lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly redesigned the state’s electoral maps, using racial gerrymandering as a way to  keep their legislative power.

The racially gerrymandered General Assembly then attempted to amend the state’s constitution by introducing new voting requirements – one requiring a photo ID to vote and one lowering the state income tax cap – even though federal and state courts had already found that these requirements disproportionately create barriers for African Americans, people living in poverty, and other voters of color.

But in 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the 2011 North Carolina electoral maps represented a widespread illegal racial gerrymander that targeted and disenfranchised Black voters.

 

What is the NC NAACP v Moore Lawsuit

In 2018, the North Carolina NAACP challenged two constitutional amendments, arguing that a racially gerrymandered legislature does not have the power to amend the state constitution. This lawsuit is known as NC NAACP v. Moore.

 

The Ruling

On August 19, 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking ruling that, for the first time in the United States’ history, placed a check on the power of a racially gerrymandered legislature.

The North Carolina Supreme Court ordered that while a racially gerrymandered legislature may continue to engage in ordinary legislative acts such as passing regular legislation, it does not have unlimited power to begin the process of amending our state constitution. The NC Supreme Court sent this case back to the trial court for additional fact-finding. On August 2, 2023, the trial court transferred this matter to a three-judge panel; and a panel of judges was assigned to this case on December 1, 2023.

 

The Impact

Because this year marks a full decade without federal voting rights protections or a fully restored Voting Rights Act, this case will determine whether Black and Latino voters in North Carolina can vote on equal terms in the 2024 election and beyond.

 

What Happens Next

We are waiting for North Carolina courts to set a trial date in the case. We stand ready, with the total weight of evidence and the will of the people behind us, to continue vigorously pursuing our legal challenges alongside the NC NAACP to defend our constitutional right to vote; and, we will and continue to call for fully restored federal voting rights protections. Stay tuned to our social media channels for the most recent updates.


Will This Ruling Be Appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court?

All parties consistently acknowledged this case concerns solely a question of state law.  Counsel for legislative defendants has made this clear in statements in court and in briefs. 

Want to learn more about the case? Visit our resources and press pages to see full filings and media coverage.