“How far into 2018 before NC knows shape of election districts in gerrymander case?”

News and Observer:

At the 9:30 a.m. hearing in Greensboro on Friday, the judges will hear arguments for and against Persily’s proposed election district changes in Cumberland, Guilford, Hoke, Mecklenburg, Wake, Bladen, Sampson and Wayne counties.

In his 69-page report to the judges in early December with maps and explanations of his proposed changes, Persily said his recommended plan eliminates “all of the constitutional infirmities the Court has identified in the plans enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2017.”

Persily said his plans “represent a limited response to a select number of districts that require alteration to comply with the law.”

The judges asked the lawmakers and challengers to provide them with any questions for Persily by Dec. 27, and if they were deemed appropriate by the court, they would have him respond to them.

Phil Strach, the Raleigh-based attorney representing the lawmakers, posed 42 questions. They sought information about organizations and people consulted by Persily, if he did so between Oct. 26 and Dec. 1, when the report was submitted to the court.

Specific organizations highlighted were: the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit that pushes for stricter rules governing money in politics; the state and national NAACP, which have challenged the North Carolina GOP agenda in several court cases; Democracy NC, a voting rights organization that challenged the lawmakers’ election law overhaul in 2013; Common Cause NC and the national organization; as well as the National Democratic Redistricting Trust.

The lawmakers have asked Persily to acknowledge whether he used racial data to draw district lines and to state whether incumbency was considered in some of his proposed districts.

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