A front-row seat at the People’s Hearing on Fair Redistricting

It was an interesting first day at work for me as I began my summer internship working for Common Cause North Carolina. I was told that I would be heading down to the legislative building in downtown Raleigh to attend and help conduct a “People’s Hearing on Fair Redistricting.”

Common Cause NC organized the people’s hearing with the purpose of offering North Carolinians the opportunity to voice their support for the passage HB200. I was asked to say a few words regarding redistricting and the need for reform in North Carolina.

Hearing people speak helped me generate some thoughts that I would later share with the audience. I heard people stand up and say that they had learned when they were children about fairness, they had learned about democracy, and they had learned about equal representation.

On a number of occasions, people repeated how lopsided and backwards it was for “politicians to choose their voters instead of voters choosing their politicians.” They are right, and this is exactly what is happening in not only North Carolina, but in many states across the country. The gerrymandering seen in North Carolina voting maps doesn’t equate to a fair democracy – this needs to change.

The people’s hearing was a public forum regarding two bills – House Bill 200 and Senate Bill 209 – that would delegate the responsibility of drawing congressional and legislative voting maps to a nonpartisan redistricting commission. The main goal with these bills is to take politicians out of the process of drawing voting maps.

Gerrymandering is an issue that has been around for decades, it has affected both Democrats and Republicans, and now it is receiving national attention. It is imperative that North Carolina politicians hold themselves accountable and pass a redistricting reform bill.

What a great first day of work it was. Take a look at the bills and contact your legislators to voice your support!

Matt Mengert is a student at UNC-Chapel Hill and a summer 2017 intern with Common Cause NC.

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