Craven board approves new district lines

Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 11:35 AM.

McCabe and District 3 Commissioner Johnnie Sampson, who cast both dissenting votes against the maps following the previous public hearing, continued to express reservations about the new district maps.

Board Chairman Scott Dacey pointed out that “there are a higher number of African-Americans in these districts than in your old (current) districts. We did everything we could to preserve them.”

District 5, which McCabe currently represents, has 22.7 percent African-American voters compared to 23.9 percent in the newly drawn district, and District 3 keeps a majority of black voters with 53.5 percent, compared to 51.1 percent in the current district Sampson represents.

Neither man expressed concern during the planning process until the sixth draft, which barely affected their districts.

McCabe and Sampson, both registered Democrats, voted against the new plan Monday, which was approved on a 5-2 vote. All five Republican commissioners voted in favor of the plan, even though, as Commissioner Jeff Taylor said, five of the seven new districts include Democratic majorities.

Taylor said he feared the dissent by McCabe and Sampson gave a false sense of how hard the board worked to be fair.

“I don’t know how we could have drawn these districts any better,” he said.

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