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Redistricting and Gerrymandering in North Carolina

Battlelines in the Tar Heel State

  • Book
  • © 2021


  • Provides a complete overview of the redistricting process using the core case study
  • Analyzes the legal aspects and court cases surrounding racial gerrymandering
  • Considers the politics and legal aspects of partisan gerrymandering and its redistricting practices in North Carolina

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in US Elections (PSUSE)

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About this book

This book gives a historical and contemporary overview of the redistricting process, using North Carolina for the different political, electoral, and legal issues and debates over the practice of drawing legislative district boundaries. Redistricting has been characterized as “the most political activity in America,” and North Carolina has often been at the heart of recent controversies over this particular activity. In fact, the Tar Heel state was once described as “long notorious for (its) outrageous reapportionment.” Through legislative construction to significant legal challenges, the Tar Heel state has been a noted case study for the past thirty years. From the contentious issues of redistricting principles to the matters of gerrymandering, based on race and politics, North Carolina’s past three decades have seen major U.S. Supreme Court cases deal with redistricting controversies. By exploring this state’s dealings with gerrymandering and redistricting, readers will have a better sense of the dynamics facing the nation as it confronts the 2020 Census and the subsequent redistricting efforts in 2021. 

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Table of contents (7 chapters)


“There’s no timelier topic in American politics than redistricting, no state that better illustrates why redistricting matters than North Carolina, and no better guide through the thicket of redistricting wars in North Carolina than Michael Bitzer. This fascinating manuscript masterfully blends legal, political, and historical analyses and leaves the reader with a clear and complete understanding of the most political act in America.”

Chris Cooper, Madison Distinguished Professor, Department of Political Science & Public Affairs, Western Carolina University, USA

“Michael Bitzer’s book is written at precisely the correct time for understanding redistricting, especially its intersection with race and partisanship. He demonstrates in rich detail the unparalleled significance of North Carolina in the political and legal landscape of redistricting, both in the past and the decades to come. North Carolina has received one new seat as the result of the 2020 Census, and indeed this book could well be a manual for drawing of lines in this battleground state. Bitzer presents a balanced approach to redistricting, one that provides glimpses of redistricting as natural and neutral but at times nefarious. Bitzer’s work is well-suited for scholars, journalists, students and provides a careful discussion that doesn’t presume that all redistricting is gerrymandering. He introduces us to the people, elected and unelected, that work to shape districts that can be constitutional, creatively constitutional or unconstitutional.”  

Susan Roberts, Professor of Political Science, Davidson College, USA

"Gerrymandering poses one of the most serious threats to the great American experience in democracy.  Michael Bitzer’s Redistricting and Gerrymandering in North Carolina: Battlelines in the Tar Heel State is an important and timely examination of North Carolina’s history of racial and partisan gerrymandering and its impact onthe State’s voters and politics.  North Carolina has been at the center of the redistricting nationally and everyone who cares about the future of our state and our democracy should read Bitzer’s book and understand the lessons it imparts."

Tom Ross, President Emeritus of UNC, Former President of Davidson College, and Co-Chair of North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Politics, Catawba College, Salisbury, USA

    J. Michael Bitzer

About the author

J. Michael Bitzer is Professor of Politics and History and holds the T.P. and J.C. Leonard Chair of Political Science at Catawba College, USA, where he teaches courses on State Politics, Southern Politics, Constitutional Law, and North Carolina Politics.

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