Articles

Who’s filed for the 2024 Election?

Filing for the 2024 election has officially closed as of noon on December 15th. With it, we know which legislative seats will be contested and who is running for what seats.  The full breakdown of candidate filings for the North Carolina Legislature and Congress can be found here. North Carolina Congressional Races Democrats have filed...
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Elections Board To Make Squishy Voter ID Law Even Squishier

The North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) held a public hearing on proposed voter ID rules on December 13. The proposed rules are for in-person (08 NCAC 17 .0101) and mail (08 NCAC 17 .0109) voter ID. A review of those regulations reveals that they provide exceptions that are so easily exploitable that they...
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Redistricting Lawsuit Arrives a Day Late and a Dollar Short

As expected, the Elias Law Group has filed a lawsuit (Williams v. Hall) challenging some of North Carolina’s new congressional districts. As if they realized how unlikely they were to succeed in their attempt to stop elections under this map, they waited until the day candidate filing had started to file their complaint The Challenged...
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Plaintiffs Request Gingles All the Way in Senate Redistricting Case

A legal challenge to the state Senate maps was filed just before the Thanksgiving holiday last week, questioning the state’s compliance with the Voting Rights Act. With candidate filing set to begin Dec. 4, the plaintiffs requested the court to expedite a preliminary injunction. Federal court judge James Dever denied the motion to expedite the...
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Elections Board Agrees to Partially Follow Law on Registration IDs

Election officials have been deviating from state and federal voter registration laws for two decades. A citizen complaint forced the North Carolina State Board of Elections (SBE) to start complying, but more action is needed to fix the damage caused by that deviation. Federal and State Law Requires ID Numbers for Voter Registration The Help...
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Shrinking Violets: Where Are the Redistricting Lawsuits?

Redistricting lawsuits are common in North Carolina. The General Assembly’s redistricting page is littered with maps that courts have tossed out (click on “District Plans Enacted or Ordered by the Court”). Only One Redistricting Lawsuit so Far However, unlike in the recent past, there has been no rush of lawsuits against the new maps. Only...
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Appeals Court Disallows Private Action under the Voting Rights Act

Appeals Court Prohibits Private Action under the Voting Rights Act In a case with potentially enormous ramifications for North Carolina elections, the United States 8th District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that individuals cannot sue under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That is the most common section used in...
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Now That We’re Done with Redistricting, Let’s Talk About Redistricting Reform

With the next scheduled round of redistricting eight years away, now is the best time to talk about redistricting reformFollowing traditional redistricting criteria more strictly and making the “Stephenson process” a permanent part of the state constitution can limit gerrymanderingAnother tool to limit gerrymandering is banning the use of political and racial data and not...
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North Carolina’s Congressional Maps Should Avoid Splitting Our Largest Cities

What should we value more when it comes to map drawing: that a district be drawn to represent a community of interest or which party may have an advantage in that district? Philosophically speaking, a district should be drawn to give a geographic community a voice in their government.  However, the process of map drawing...
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Policy Pizza: Election Security and Data

This week on Policy Pizza, we linked up with Jim Stirling, a Research Fellow at Locke’s Civitas Center for Public Integrity. Jim’s primary focus for the Center for Public Integrity is researching election integrity, analysis of election data, and good governance practices on the state and local levels. Over some beers and pineapple pizza, Jim...
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When It Comes To Redistricting, What Does “Fair” Actually Mean?

Some things are perennially certain in life. My son’s desire to stay up past his bedtime, the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway during autumn, and North Carolina’s protracted redistricting saga. In October 2023, the state legislature approved new congressional and legislative maps. It was to the surprise of no one that Democratic politicians and...
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Stephenson Ruling Does not Require Racially Polarized Voting Analysis

Legislators disagreed during North Carolina’s recent round of redistricting on whether the General Assembly had to conduct a racially polarized voting analysis. This raises at least two questions. The first is “What is racially polarized voting (RPV) analysis?” At its most basic RPV analysis attempts to determine if White and nonwhite voters both vote as...
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What are the Partisan leanings of North Carolina’s Proposed Legislative Maps?

October 26 Update: The General Assembly ratified amended versions of Senate Bill 758 and House Bill 898 on October 25. The changes are mostly minor and do not change the overall partisan ratings of either map previously listed in this post. The updates to the Senate map include swapping precincts between districts 20 and 22...
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Two Problematic State Senate Districts and One That Is Not As Bad as It Looks

We noted on October 20 how the proposed North Carolina Senate map tended to favor Republicans. We also noted how closely they adhered to or failed to adhere to traditional redistricting criteria: The CPI indicates that there are 16 safe Democratic seats, 1 likely Democratic seat, 5 toss-up seats, 5 lean Republican seats, 4 likely...
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Proposed Congressional Maps Look Ugly But Are Good on Many Redistricting Criteria

The two congressional maps proposed in the Senate Redistricting and Elections Committee are not pretty. What the maps do with the 13th District is perhaps the most extreme example. On one map (CBP-5) it runs from northern Wake County all the way down to the beaches of Carteret County. On the other map (CCJ-1) the...
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Misconceptions about Redistricting: What Are the Stephenson Criteria?

The North Carolina General Assembly is expected to have its new legislative and congressional maps ready this week. The 2022 interim congressional map was always expected to be redrawn this year, as the court-drawn maps are only to be used for one election cycle. The redrawing of legislative maps only came about after the decision...
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Empowering Oversight: Perspective on Oversight Commission’s New Powers

The North Carolina state budget, recently enacted, expanded the powers of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, a body that has been in existence since 1975.Expanding the Commission’s authority aligns with principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and transparency in government.The use of extreme comparisons like “secret police” and “Gestapo” to describe the Commission’s...
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SCOTUS Cases May Establish Brackets for Race and Redistricting Claims

A case out of South Carolina could help set limits on claims of racial gerrymandering, further clarifying how such claims may affect districts the North Carolina General Assembly will draw later this month. Alabama Case’s Limited Impact I noted in June how a racial gerrymandering case from Alabama, Allen v. Milligan, would likely have little...
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Veto Override Delivers a Host of Locke Election Policy Victories

The General Assembly overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 747, “An Act to Make Various Changes Regarding Election Law,” on October 10. The party-line votes were 30-19 in the Senate and 72-44 in the House. The John Locke Foundation has advocated for many of the election reforms in S 747. Once implemented, they...
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A Redistricting Tale of Three Counties Split Three Ways

One goal when drawing congressional districts is to keep political communities, including counties, together. As Jim Stirling and I noted in our report, Limiting Gerrymandering in North Carolina, “[W]hile there is no constitutional limit on how many counties can be traversed on a congressional map, a 13-county limit for the 14-district congressional map is reasonable.”...
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Public Comments to General Assembly Committees on Redistricting Standards

The John Locke Foundation’s Jim Stirling and Andy Jackson both spoke at a public hearing of the joint Senate Redistricting and Elections and House Redistricting committees on September 27 at the General Assembly’s Legislative Office Building. Their prepared statements are below. Public Comment by Jim Stirling While the criteria this committee adopted in 2021 is...
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Legislative Gutting of Public Records Law Can — and Should — Be Fixed

Legislators added a provision to the state budget that would make them functionally exempt from public records lawGovernment transparency is a defense against corruption and misfeasanceThe General Assembly should narrow the language of the public records exemption and consider amending the North Carolina Constitution to require more transparency The North Carolina General Assembly finally passed...
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Criteria Recommendations for North Carolina Congressional Maps

Though North Carolina passed its newest budget last week, the legislature will still be busy this week. The legislature still must  draw new congressional and legislative maps following the North Carolina Supreme Court’s reversal in  the Harper v. Moore Case earlier this year. The legislature’s joint redistricting committee is having meetings this week at three...
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State Budget Includes Several Good Election Reforms

I wrote last April about how the proposed state budget includes several good election policies, even if not all of them belong in a budget bill. I evaluated those reforms on two criteria: are they good public policy and do they belong in the budget? Here are the results: 1. SBE/USE OF HELP AMERICA VOTE...
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