Redistricting started in North Carolina. Here’s how to get involved
Last week kicked off the first bout of public hearings on redistricting, which will redefine the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts for the next ten years. Lawmakers are traveling to 13 locations throughout the state, giving North Carolinians a chance to protect their communities’ representation by demanding fair maps.
Historically, politicians have manipulated the state’s voting maps to unfairly cling to their power, in what is called gerrymandering. For decades, the state’s GOP drew legislative districts that gave the party advantages in races for U.S. Congress, N.C. General Assembly and the state legislature. In February, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder slated North Carolina as being the “ground zero for partisan and racial gerrymandering”.
This year, the cycle of Republicans giving themselves unfair advantages when redrawing districts may change if North Carolinians across the state show up and demand for fair voting maps for all.
- According to a report from the nonpartisan nonprofit, Represent Us, North Carolina is one of several states at “extreme risk” for political gerrymandering — putting North Carolinians among the more than 188 million Americans or 70 percent of the nation that may face potential voter disenfranchisement due to rigged maps this upcoming election cycle.
- To counter the GOP’s Jim Crow-era voter suppression laws and gerrymandering, advocates and Democratic lawmakers have pushed pro-voter legislation for months — with bills like House Bill 437 or the “Fair Maps Act”, that is aimed at ending gerrymandering by taking redistricting power out of the hands of legislators and entrusting it with an independent commission comprised of North Carolinians in order to draw the state’s voting districts free from political influence.
- Despite the urgency to protect voters, the GOP failed to pass the common sense legislation — underscoring the importance for communities to demand a fairer and more inclusive process when it comes to redistricting that will give North Carolinians representation in the coming elections.
For far too long, certain politicians have put their own self-interest ahead of what’s best for the people of our state when it comes to redistricting. The result has been racially-motivated gerrymandering that has repeatedly silenced many within our communities.
By showing up at redistricting public hearings and participating in the process, our communities will have the power to pressure state and local electeds to draw fair districts, protect our communities of interest, and ensure that our elections reflect the will of the people.
Want to make your voice heard? Here’s how to participate:
- View the full list of public hearings in your area, along with times and dates at: http://FairMapsNC.org
- If you’re not able to attend a public hearing in-person, you can submit a comment online.
- For more information on the redistricting process and tips on submitting a public comment, we encourage you to visit Democracy NC’s informative guide.