GREENSBORO, N.C. (Reuters) – Before the Republican-led state legislature divided their city and even their college campus into two different districts in a bid to boost the party’s election chances, students like recent graduate Vashti Smith could vote for the Democratic U.S. congressional candidate and know that person could win.
Thanks to partisan gerrymandering – a practice the Supreme Court will examine on Tuesday in two cases that could impact American politics for decades – that is no longer the case. A U.S. House of Representatives district that once covered heavily Democratic Greensboro was reconfigured in 2016, with the voters in the city of 290,000 people inserted into two other districts spanning rural areas with reliable Republican majorities.
Map - Legislature - Campus - North - Carolina
In adopting the electoral map, the legislature partitioned the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, the nation’s largest historically black public college, into two separate districts.
“We had one person representing us who shared our beliefs. Now we have two people who don’t really represent us,” said Smith, 24, a 2017 graduate who works with voting-rights group Common Cause, which is among the plaintiffs challenging the new districts.
Decades - Democrats - State - US - House
After decades of electing Democrats to the state’s 12th U.S. House district by wide margins, Greensboro now has been represented by two Republicans, in the redrawn 6th and 13th district seats, since 2016.
Republicans and Democrats over the years have engaged in gerrymandering, manipulating electoral boundaries to entrench one party in power. Critics have said the practice has now become far more effective and insidious due to computer technology and precise voter data, warping democracy.
Districts - President - Donald - Trump - Party
The reworked districts that helped President Donald Trump’s party gain House seats in North Carolina are part of the historic U.S. Supreme Court fight, along with a single Democratic-drawn House district in Maryland that resulted in a Republican seat flipping to a Democrat.
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