From The Winston Salem Journal: Why are legislative leaders so afraid of fairer elections?
North Carolina Republican legislators have spent years and large amounts of taxpayer money to try to suppress voters in the state. If elections were fair they fear they would lose their power. They know they are legislating against the interests of the majority of North Carolinians, and so must rig the system. Citizens of North Carolina deserve fair elections and for each person to have a voice in elections, this is the foundation of democracy and must not be allowed to be co-opted by any one party.
The latest news from the federal courts about the unconstitutional, racially gerrymandered General Assembly districts and the response to it from legislative leaders makes one thing clearer than ever.
The folks in charge of the House and Senate are terribly afraid of what will happen if our elections are fairer, if every district is not gerrymandered by race and partisan considerations to all but guarantee that their supermajorities will remain in place, and if the voters have a slightly better chance at electing who they want instead of having their representatives chosen for them.
That’s the only conclusion you can draw from the bitter reaction from legislative leaders to their latest setback in the courts—that they are scared—as a three judge panel brushed aside lawmakers’ objections and hired an outside expert to redraw several districts lawmakers drew after their original maps were struck down as unconstitutional because of the role race played in their development.
A spokesperson for the Senate leadership told The Associated Press that the court has “seized the constitutional and sovereign right to draw districts from lawmakers to an un-elected California college professor with clear conflicts of interest. We are disturbed the court has apparently planned all along to achieve its preferred political outcome and are reviewing our legal options.”
This from a General Assembly that has not only been given two chances to draw constitutional districts and failed each time, but also has been allowed to hold an election using the illegal districts.
Legislators in the House and Senate were elected in 2016 under maps that judges appointed by Republicans and judges appointed by Democrats have agreed were unconstitutional. Now legislative leaders are desperately trying to delay the case against them long enough to force the 2018 elections to be held with illegal districts too.
That seems highly unlikely. The three-judge panel said in this week’s ruling appointing the outside expert that “the state is not entitled to multiple opportunities to remedy its unconstitutional districts.”
In other words, legislative leaders have had their chances but they could not resist drawing another set of illegal districts. They apparently don’t trust the voters to reelect them otherwise.