State lawmakers have approved a set of guidelines from which they will draw new political maps.
Federal judges have ordered redistricting after ruling that 28 legislative seats are illegal racial gerrymanders. However, race is not among any of the criteria adopted Thursday that will be used for new maps.
Republican David Lewis explained.
“Given the court’s order in this case we believe the only way to comply with the legal requirements regarding districts is not to consider race in that process,” Lewis said.
Democrats, including Senator Paul Lowe of Forsyth County, countered that race cannot be avoided. They said while judges said race should not be the factor, it should be taken into consideration.
“We live in the South,” Lowe said. “When in the South has race has not been a factor? Because what I’m hearing doesn’t really add up.”
Lawmakers are scheduled to pass maps in two weeks, and a three-judge panel will then review them.
The new districts will be in effect for the 2018 election.