'Stolen Votes, Silenced Voices': A protest against NC gerrymandering

By Bryan Warner
Posted: Oct. 4, 2017

RALEIGH – Over 100 North Carolina citizens marched to the legislature on Wednesday to protest gerrymandered voting maps and to call for independent redistricting.

The protest occurred on the opening day of a special legislative session in which lawmakers may take up dramatically redrawn judicial districts, and it came a day after the US Supreme Court heard a potentially landmark case challenging partisan gerrymandering.

Under North Carolina's longstanding system, whichever party controls the legislature also controls redistricting. For decades, the result has been gerrymandered voting maps that heavily favor one party or the other and reduce competition on Election Day. 

House Bill 200 would take redistricting power out of the hands of legislators and give it to an independent body, which in turn would draw districts free from partisan politics.  While the measure has broad support in the NC House and among the public, legislative leaders have so far blocked the bill from getting a vote or even a hearing.

Since 1992, nearly half of all legislative races have had just one candidate on the ballot. That trend continued in last year's election as millions of North Carolinians were deprived of any choice in who would represent them in the legislature.

An overwhelming majority of North Carolina voters support independent redistricting, as shown by a Public Policy Polling survey in April. According to the poll's results, 80 percent of voters say it’s not fair for politicians to draw their own districts. That includes 85 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of independent voters.

Over 260 civic leaders from 130 towns and cities across North Carolina have signed a petition calling on the legislature to pass independent redistricting reform. And more than 100 North Carolina business owners have launched a coalition calling for an end to gerrymandering.

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