Redistricting Special Master assistant involved in NC maps under investigation for data manipulation

Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s Sam Wang under investigation

FILE - In this July 26, 2017, file photo, a lawmaker studies a district map during a joint select committee meeting on redistricting in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

RALEIGH — An assistant to the Special Masters involved in North Carolina’s 2021 redistricting process is under investigation for data manipulation per a report by The New Jersey Globe. 

According to that report, Princeton University has begun an internal investigation of Sam Wang, who heads up the Princeton Gerrymandering Project following allegations by members of his staff that Wang was “manipulating data to match his personal agenda, and for mistreating people who worked for him.” 

“He’d fudge the numbers to get his way,” said one individual according to The New Jersey Globe. “He had an agenda. He was good at hiding it when he had to, but it was clear Sam wanted Democrats to win and he was willing to cheat to make that happen.” 

Additionally, The New Jersey Globe reported that that “Wang created a toxic work environment that included retaliatory acts and job threats, and a possible Title IX violation,” according to three individuals directly connected to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. 

“From the beginning of the remedial redistricting process Dr. Wang’s involvement was problematic, yet no one took our concerns seriously,” said Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) in a statement. “The allegations that he skewed data to favor Democrats during the New Jersey redistricting process should absolutely call into question his involvement in North Carolina, after all, the court accepted a map drawn by the Special Masters’ team.” 

Hise’s statement notes that “When the remedial process concluded, the court accepted a Congressional map drawn by the Special Masters’ team — including Wang — that only had one competitive district, compared to the legislature’s map which included four highly competitive districts.” 

In February of this year, lawmakers in North Carolina filed a motion to dismiss Wang and another assistant, Tyler Jarvis, for activities forbidden for Special Masters by engaging in “substantive ex-party communications,” with the plaintiffs’ experts.  

Wang had allegedly been in contact with the plaintiffs prior to being hired in February of 2022, the same month lawmakers filed their motion citing the inappropriate communications.  

In their motion to remove Wang and Jarvis, lawmakers cited Wang had previously been accused of similar inappropriate contact involving a member of the New Jersey Redistricting Commission. The motion was later denied and both assistants remained in place. 

A three-judge panel eventually upheld the state’s two legislative maps but drew new congressional lines based on recommendations by the Special Masters. 

“Today’s ruling is nothing short of egregious,” Moore said in a statement following the panel’s ruling. The trial court’s decision to impose a map drawn by anyone other than the legislature is simply unconstitutional and an affront to every North Carolina voter whose representation would be determined by unelected, partisan activists.” 

About A.P. Dillon 651 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_