Raleigh Wake Citizens Ass'n v. Wake Cnty. Bd. of Elections, No. 16-1270 (4th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In these consolidated cases, plaintiffs filed suit challenging two redistricting laws, alleging that some Wake County School Board and Wake County Board of County Commissioners districts have been over-populated, while others have been under-populated. Plaintiffs further assert that these discrepancies result in some votes counting more while others count less, and that the discrepancies stem from illegitimate redistricting factors. The court concluded that, to succeed on the merits, plaintiffs in one person, one vote cases with population deviations below 10% must show by a preponderance of the evidence that improper considerations predominate in explaining the deviations. In this case, plaintiffs have proven that it is more probable than not that the population deviations at issue here reflect the predominance of an illegitimate reapportionment factor, namely an intentional effort to create a significant partisan advantage. Therefore, the district court committed reversible error in granting judgment for defendants. For the same reasons that plaintiffs succeed with their federal claim, they also succeed with their North Carolina state one person, one vote claim. Finally, the district court did not commit clear error in rejecting plaintiffs' racial gerrymandering claim. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded in part, and affirmed in part.