The North Carolina General Assembly has approved dozens of new state House and Senate districts for the 2020 election cycle, including big changes for Forsyth County in both chambers.
Now it is up to the court to rule on whether the new districts pass muster. A three-judge panel ordered districts redrawn after it found bias in favor of Republicans.
Forsyth County still has two Senate districts and five House districts, but if the plans stand, most of the county's voters would find themselves in either a new House or Senate district.
Or both: Of the county's 101 precincts, 45 would be in either a new Senate or House district, and another 27 would be in new districts in both chambers.
On Tuesday, it was up to the House and Senate to pass on the districts that had been approved earlier by the other chamber.
The Senate passed the House districts on a 24-21 vote that followed party lines. The House approved the Senate districts on a 62-52 vote that largely followed party lines.
In Forsyth County, many of the district changes are sweeping in geographical scope, but appear less so in political leanings. In both the House and Senate redistricting plans, incumbents would remain in districts with voting histories favorable to their parties.
In the House, 54 of the county's 101 precincts would move to a different House district in 2020.
For sheer numbers, the biggest Forsyth County change in the House could be in District 74, now held by Rep. Debra Conrad, a Republican. Conrad would keep only four of the precincts in her current district: Her home precinct, 809, which votes at Jefferson Middle School, and 131 (Vienna Baptist Church), 132 (Pfafftown Christian Church) and 908 (Old Town Baptist Church).
As presently constituted, Conrad's district wraps around the northern side of Forsyth County from Tobaccoville to northern Kernersville. Conrad's new district would cover the western and southwestern parts of the county, including Lewisville and Clemmons along with parts of Winston-Salem.
The most complete change would be in those parts of Forsyth County that are combined with all of Yadkin County to form District 73. The 73rd is held by Rep. Lee Zachary, a Yadkin County Republican.
Presently, Zachary represents a group of precincts in western Forsyth County, including parts of Lewisville. None of those areas would be in the new 73rd, which would now include sections of the northwest area of Forsyth County, including Tobaccoville and Rural Hall.
Meanwhile, the 75th District, held by Republican Donny Lambeth, would lose some areas that are located mostly in southwestern Forsyth County. The new 75th would gain most of the eastern Forsyth precincts that Conrad is losing.
The 71st District, now held by Democrat Evelyn Terry, keeps its central portion but loses most of the Ardmore neighborhood in the west. In exchange, the district picks up areas stretching from the City View neighborhood along Old Greensboro Road to parts of Walkertown.
The 71st also reaches down to the Davidson County line toward the southwest.
The 72nd District might seem the least affected by redistricting, but even there the district would add 12 precincts it didn't include before. The seat is held by Rep. Derwin Montgomery, a Democrat.
The new 72nd would gain most of the sections of Ardmore lost by the 71st, but lose other areas on the northwestern and northeastern sides of the current district.
On the Senate side, both the new and old plans pair Forsyth County's 31st District with all of Davie County. The 31st District is represented by Sen. Joyce Krawiec, a Republican.
In Forsyth County, the 31st District would pick up 19 precincts on the eastern side of Winston-Salem, and lose 26 precincts on the northwestern and western sides of the county, including some western Winston-Salem precincts.
It's a swap between the 31st and 32nd Senate districts. The 32nd district would gain the areas lost by the 31st, and lose the precincts that the 31st would gain. The 32nd District is represented by Sen. Paul Lowe, a Winston-Salem Democrat.
Voters in Lewisville, Tobaccoville and Rural Hall would find themselves in new Senate districts, as would many voters in Winston-Salem, Walkertown and Clemmons.
On the other hand, voters in Kernersville will remain in the 31st District, as would voters in the area stretching south from Kernersville toward the Davidson County line.
Redistricting plans aren't subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto, but the judges will now review the plans with the help of an outside expert. The judges could sign off on the maps as they are or redraw some or all of the altered districts. A decision probably won't be immediate.
"We are optimistic that the way we've handled this is not just consistent with what the court directed us to do, but (was) within the spirit of what the court wanted us to do," Senate leader Phil Berger said.
A timeline set by the trial court allows legal briefs objecting to the replacement districts by Sept. 27, with any response to those objections filed by Oct. 4. Candidate filing begins in early December for next year's elections, starting with early March primaries.
Common Cause, a plaintiff in the partisan gerrymandering lawsuit, mentioned the maps' approval in a news release but didn't reveal whether it believes the maps comply with the court's standards.