County to seek comments on redistricting maps for second time

Published: Friday, September 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM.

“It is clear that there is no longer an enforceable mechanism requiring preclearance submissions by previously covered jurisdictions,” but the timing of the county’s action could subject it to be called into question, according to Hurley’s letter.

The first new county commission district maps for Craven County’s seven districts in 20 years were presented at a March public hearing with the goal of final passage and Justice Department approval by Sept. 30, in time to be used in the 2014 elections.

The maps were prepared over a period of nine months with the help of an Arlington, Va., consulting firm using computer software that factored in demographics including race to make sure at least two districts could be won by African-American candidates.

Hurley had advised that the goal of increased scrutiny for Craven County under the Voting Rights Act was “to create two minority districts” and going forward, “the goal is not to regress.” 

The process included six versions of the maps to address several districts that were significantly out of population balance and do not enforce the principle of one-man, one-vote.

Some speaking at the last public hearing said they believed there was “too much politics” in the last set of maps and the Board of Commissioners vote was split down party lines, five Republican votes for and two Democratic votes against.

The public hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 16, in the upstairs commissioner’s room of Craven County Administration Building at the corner of Broad and Craven streets in New Bern.



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