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Appeal filed in state Senate map litigation decision

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(The Center Square) – Plaintiffs immediately appealed to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday when a federal judge denied an injunction to the North Carolina Senate redistricting map.

Judge James Dever, asked by Rodney Pierce of Halifax County and Moses Matthews of Martin County to rule in favor of racial bias being applied, ruled the region does not require a majority-Black state Senate district. His decision is in alignment with previous litigation precedent on whether there is justification based on racial polarization in voting.

Districts 1 and 2 of the state’s 50 were under consideration in the case, though a redraw could have impacted other districts, lawyers said. Those two districts do not have primaries on March 5, for which absentee voting by mail started last Friday.

“The court declines plaintiffs’ invitation to issue the requested extraordinary, mandatory preliminary injunction and thereby inflict voter confusion and chaos on the 2024 Senate elections in North Carolina,” Dever’s decision says.

Pierce and Matthews are residents of District 2. The lawsuit drew a court brief backing the injunction request from two prominent Democratic lawyers, Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein.

Multiple lawsuits with accusations of racial gerrymanders have been filed since the latest redistricting maps were implemented. Republicans, after 140 years without majorities in both chambers at the same time, overcame Democrat-friendly maps in the 2010 midterms and ever since have faced dozens of litigations in map-drawing exercises at the federal and state level.

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