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Congressman testifies, takes issue with GOP's redrawn districts

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Congressman Mel Watt testified during a trial involving the redrawn voting districts in North Carolina Congressman Mel Watt testified during a trial involving the redrawn voting districts in North Carolina

 

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Mel Watt says there was no legal requirement for the North Carolina General Assembly to draw his congressional district so that the black population inside rose above 50 percent.

The Charlotte Democrat testified Tuesday as a three-judge panel presided over a trial examining race-related issues to lawsuits challenging the congressional and legislative maps approved in 2011.

Democratic voters and civil rights and election advocacy groups contend race was the predominant factor in GOP leaders drawing Watt's 12th District and boundaries for five other elected seats.

The black voting-age population rose from 44 percent to 51 percent. Watt accused a key GOP state senator in redistricting of saying that he sought such a change, but Sen. Bob Rucho said later that's not true.

The two-day trial will resume Wednesday.

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