Monday, January 9, 2012

Expert: GOP launched 'direct attack on black political participation'

A surprising development has emerged in a fight that will help determine the outcome of elections this year.

Former UNC Charlotte professor Ted Arrington, an independent and recognized expert on redistricting, filed an affidavit saying Republicans used race as a predominant factor in drawing new maps for congressional and legislative districts.

The Republicans “systematically moved blocks in or out of their precincts on the basis of their race. No other explanation is possible given the statistical data,” Arrington wrote in an affidavit filed in Wake County Superior Court last week.

Democrats and the NAACP are asking the court to block the maps from being used until a trial can be held. The state is asking the court to throw out the suit. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

The maps are marked by large numbers of split counties and split precincts, mostly in minority communities. Arrington says the split precincts could confuse voters and hurt voter turnout, especially among black voters.

Arrington said that the GOP packed minority voters into the same districts beyond what they would need to elect minority candidates. That makes other districts safer for whites, and Republicans.

“The General Assembly has created in all three plans a kind of political apartheid,” Arrington wrote. He called it “a direct attack on black political participation.”

Arrington’s affidavit is important because he has been widely regarded as an expert in districting, reapportionment and other voting behavor for decades. He has been an expert witness in more than 40 voting rights cases and his testimony has been cited in a number of precedent-setting cases. He was chairman of the Political Science Department at UNC Charlotte for 18 years and was faculty president. His testimony has helped both parties over the years. He was an active Republican for many years before joining the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections in 1979.

Elections have consequences, and Republicans took control of the legislature in November 2010. Democrats drew district boundaries to benefit their party for decades; Republicans did the same this time. A judge will decide whether they crossed the line from strategic to unacceptable.

Arrington’s affidavit sure won’t help them. We hope the challenge is settled quickly, so that candidate filing can begin as scheduled Feb. 13 and the primary can be held on time, on May 8.

-- Taylor Batten


kantstanzya said...

I'll wait to comment in depth until tomorrow when this story will take regular comments and not be deleted overnight. But Ted Arrington is a longtime professional paid witness for the Justice Department. In this case he is being paid to further the Holder Justice Dept radical racial agenda.

Garth Vader said...

Ummm... doesn't the Voting Rights Act COMPEL the Legislature to draw districts based on race?

Wiley Coyote said...

I'm as white as a ghost and was put into Vilma Leake's district...

Try again...

John said...

I suspect it had more to do with political party than race... it just so happens blacks tend to be almost exclusively Democrats.

DistrictSix said...

Imagine what people will have to blame, on the inequities, one day the future?

Clones, robots, holographic images, perhaps aliens from other planets?

Why the future is just unlimited, based on our lack of success, over the last one hundred years, with just one color?

John said...

How about running a comparison of both maps? The one Democrats drew when THEY were in power and the proposed one?

As I recall, Dems used race to split up what were previously Republican heavy areas, even at one point, connecting two largely black areas by extending a district for several miles over the width of the I-85 corridor to avoid predominately white and Republican voters!

It's always right when your party does it but cry foul when the other party undoes what you did!

GottaBchittenme said...

Spot on John !

BiBr said...

This article brings to mind an old adage: "There are lies, damn lies, and statistics." I do hope Dr. Arrington does not fall into any of these categories. Besides, where has he been for the last 99 years when Democrates were drawing district lines. I bet "statistics" would tell a thing or two about their shady practices.

Cams Daddy said...

Mel Watt is history and the CO can't stand it. Next election he's gone. Too bad the CO doesn't let the readers vote on their editorial board.