We need fair maps & fair elections in NC

This week, I decided to elaborate on some personal thoughts regarding recent occurrences that encompass gerrymandering in North Carolina.

On May 22, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that two of North Carolina’s congressional districts were gerrymandered on racial grounds in 2011.

The importance of this decision lies with the fact that the Supreme Court saw that Districts 1 and 12 relied too heavily on race, with lawmakers “packing” African-American voters into these oddly shaped districts. This tactic diluted the voting power of African-Americans while enhancing the Republicans’ partisan advantage.

Although this court ruling is a progressive step to further the fairness of voting, there is much work that needs to be done in order to tackle the unfairness of partisan gerrymandering.

Unlike racial gerrymandering, partisan gerrymandering has largely been permitted by the courts and is used across the country by both political parties to solidify their majorities.

As a lifelong North Carolinian, I find it disturbing that the current political majority in our state is willing to go so far as to create unfair voting districts in order to value certain voters in one district more than those in another. This is a primary political issue for me, which is why I have decided to work with Common Cause NC this summer.

Recently, I attended and contributed to Common Cause NC’s public hearing on House Bill 200 on June 5, which was held in order for citizens to voice their opinions on fair redistricting.

House Bill 200 would provide a fair and nonpartisan method for redrawing voting districts within the state of North Carolina. Unfortunately, Common Cause NC had to sponsor this public hearing since legislative leaders have expressed an unwillingness to hear the bill themselves.

The combination of personal accounts at the public hearing that explained a distaste for partisan redistricting, coupled with statewide polls that show a majority of North Carolinians desire fair redistricting reform, have shown me that fair redistricting is not being properly addressed by our state lawmakers.

The fact that the public had to organize our own hearing on HB200 shows a stark unfairness in the way policymakers wish to continue to redraw voting districts. That is why I, along with the majority of North Carolinians, support replacing the 205-year-old conduct of gerrymandering with a system of redistricting that ensures an equal vote for every citizen.

Noah Johnson is a student at NC State University and a summer 2017 intern with Common Cause NC.

This entry was posted in Redistricting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *