What’s Stronger Than a Blue Wave? Gerrymandered Districts

In States, Voting On

GREENSBORO, N.C. — When the blue wave came to North Carolina, the red levees held.

In a year in which Democrats picked up as many as 41 House seats elsewhere, including in places as conservative as Oklahoma and Utah, they appeared to lose all three of their targets for pickups in one of the nation’s most closely divided states. Democrats in North Carolina earned 48.3 percent of the total vote cast in House races but appeared to win only three seats; Republicans had 50.4 percent of the vote and won at least nine seats. (One race, in the Ninth District, originally called for the Republican candidate, remains uncertified because of questions about the legitimacy of some absentee ballots.)

The results, which left the partisan makeup of the state’s House delegation unchanged, were as much a triumph of mapmaking as campaigning. The election was held using gerrymandered district lines that federal judges had deemed unconstitutional; those lines were drawn because previous ones had also been deemed unconstitutional.

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