Nathan Persily has been a staunch advocate for democracy for years:
Republicans don’t necessarily have a problem with Persily’s credentials, which are many, or his map-drawing chops, which are considerable. They worry about what GOP lawyer Phil Strach called “possible bias.” They’re right about that, but maybe not for the reason they think.
He has characterized gerrymandering as “partisan greed” – which happens to be true, regardless of which party is engaging in it. He has frowned at the Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision in Citizens United because of the power it gave to the few – Democrat or Republican – who have a lot of money. He has argued against a Texas effort to draw districts based on eligible voters instead of total population, because it would dilute the voting power of a growing Latino population.
In summary, Persily has been laser-focused on defending the rights and Constitutionally-granted powers of individual voters, matters the NC GOP has worked against relentlessly since they were granted a majority by those same voters. Why would you do that? Why would you punish those who had entrusted you? The logical answer is: Because you knew from the start you were going to exceed your mandate, take steps that are clearly in violation of (at least) the spirit of the NC Constitution and your previously stated principles, and you wanted to make sure those voters would not be able to correct their mistake. Here's more on Persily:
So what has Persily advocated for? As senior research director for the 2014 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, he helped craft recommendations that included expanding early voting and online registration. In a subsequent op-ed for the Washington Post, he recommended developing a nationwide data infrastructure that might address issues such as long polling lines and the failure to count provisional and absentee ballots.
All of which has a theme: People should have better access to voting, and the votes they make should not be weakened by political or legal maneuvering.
All of which is anathema to the power-mad Republicans running (ruining?) the General Assembly.