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Judges to make decision on NCGA maps

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The future of who General Assembly candidates will represent and where those districts will be remains a mystery in North Carolina.

A panel of three judges will rule on how the district maps should be drawn, considering new maps made by the NCGA, proposed maps from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, or even bringing in a third party to redraw the maps.

This all because the Supreme Court found lawmakers drew district lines based on race to pack more minorities into districts, which is against the law.

This time, lawmakers say they didn't consider race in their new maps, but used voting data for political advantage, which is lawful. They also said a criteria was to draw districts favorable for incumbents on both sides of the isle.

The plaintiffs in this case, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, doesn't think lawmakers did enough. They presented four districts where they believe racial gerrymandering is still at issue, including one House district in Guilford County where the percentage of black voters rose from 50% to 60% under the new maps.

They also argued in some instances, lawmakers altered districts that were not found unconstitutional by the courts, and claim that's outside the authority the court gives them to change. Lawyers representing the General Assembly argue that there is an unavoidable ripple effect that caused those districts to change.

Timeliness is a factor in this decision because the filing period for these races begin in February, and so it's important for candidates and voters to know which district they're running in and their voting options respectively.