The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Vance, and Kati Phillips,

North Carolina Court Should Release Trove of Gerrymandering Files

Decision to expose Hofeller Files expected next week


Yesterday's ruling in North Carolina against partisan gerrymandering is truly a case of a person's words ringing from the grave. Dr. Thomas Hofeller was the chief mapmaker for the Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature. He passed away in late 2018.

Common Cause, with representation from Arnold & Porter, subpoenaed Hofeller's daughter, Stephanie, and received four external hard drives and 18 thumb drives that she had expressed interest in sharing. The files were critical in revealing the schemes that Hofeller was involved in -- from the effort to add a citizenship question to the Census to the North Carolina court's finding that the legislature had engaged in unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts.

In fact, yesterday's ruling specifically stated the Hofeller files provided direct evidence of his interest in maximizing Republicans' advantage in the 2017 legislative maps.

We know from our national redistricting advocacy that Hofeller orchestrated gerrymandering in multiple states, and we believe that there is additional evidence that needs to come forward about the partisan motives and vote-stealing conducted in other states.

As we embark on the 2020 round of redistricting, it is time for us to reveal the truth and to establish clear standards for fair maps. We must move away from unconstitutional methods that became so popular and precise in the last decade and instead establish independent, citizen-led redistricting commissions.

This Friday, Sept. 6, Common Cause will file a brief with the Wake County Superior Court asking for the Hofeller files to be released. The court order protecting the use of the files expires on Tuesday, Sept. 10, so we believe a decision on the use of the documents in imminent.

We ask that you editorialize in favor of the release of the Hofeller files.

The following Common Cause experts are prepared to discuss Friday's filing and the impact of the ruling to come:

  • Kathay Feng, national redistricting director for Common Cause
  • Brent Laurenz, director of outreach and special projects for Common Cause North Carolina

To schedule an interview or to receive the filings, please contact Bryan Warner in our North Carolina media office at, (919) 836-0027, or Dave Vance in our national communications office at, (202) 736-5712.

Read more about the Hofeller files here.

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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