Jan. 21, 2016
Contact: Bryan Warner, Common Cause NC, 919-836-0027 or
'The Forgotten 54': A look at NC legislative races with no competition at all this year
RALEIGH - In the 54 days leading up to the March 15 primary, Common Cause North Carolina will take a daily look at the 54 NC General Assembly districts where voters have no choice in this year's elections.
Just one candidate filed for office in each of these 54 legislative districts, effectively deciding the outcome of these elections before a single ballot is cast. In all, almost a third of North Carolina's 170 legislative seats will have no competition in both the primary and general elections.
The driving force behind this lack of competition is gerrymandering, the longtime practice of partisan politicians drawing the state's voting maps to heavily favor one party or the other. In turn, opposing candidates have little or no chance of winning in these districts — deterring many potential contenders from even bothering to run and leaving voters with no choice on their ballot.
Beginning Friday, Common Cause NC will post a daily look at each of these 54 legislative districts at twitter.com/CommonCauseNC, as well as online at CommonCauseNC.org/54. The first dozen districts highlighted will be those that have no competition for the third election cycle in a row.
Over 3 million North Carolinians reside in the 41 state House districts that lack any competition this year, and nearly 2.5 million live in the 13 state Senate districts where just one candidate is running.
"Once again, gerrymandering is undermining our democracy and depriving millions of North Carolinians of having a choice and a voice in our elections," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. "By taking a daily look at each of these 54 districts that lack any competition at all, we hope to shine a light on the corrosive impact of gerrymandering and the vital need for an independent redistricting process."
Common Cause North Carolina is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.