Is this the end of partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina?
Last week, a three-judge panel in Wake County ruled unanimously that lawmakers violated the state constitution by gerrymandering the state’s legislative districts for partisan gain. Lawmakers have until September 18 to draw new maps using strict nonpartisan criteria and in public view, with the new maps subject to review by the court before the 2020 election.
- For nearly a decade, legislative Republicans have used their unfair advantages to run roughshod over our state’s government, looting state coffers to give enormous tax cuts to the wealthy, protecting polluters instead of public health, and systematically dismantling our once-great public education system. That ends now.
- Since the U.S. Supreme Court has left it up to the states to regulate partisan gerrymandering, this landmark ruling effectively decides the issue for North Carolina.
- Legislative Republicans know they can’t win in the Democratic-controlled N.C. Supreme Court, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to once again make sure these new maps give the GOP an unfair advantage.
- Every single map which Republicans have drawn since taking control of the General Assembly in 2010 has been tainted by either racial or partisan gerrymandering -- and often both. There is no way the GOP majority can be trusted to draw fair maps now without strict public scrutiny.
We at the Monday Memo are joining Common Cause NC’s call for lawmakers to make sure the entire mapmaking process must be fully transparent:
- All map drawing must occur at public hearings, with any relevant computer screen visible to legislators and public observers, as the court specifically ordered.
- Provide a live video feed online of the entire mapmaking process so any resident can watch in real-time.
- The mapmaking should also be viewable via live video feed at satellite sites across the state.
- Before the first district is drawn, lawmakers should spend at least one day soliciting public input at a minimum of 10 satellite sites throughout the state and in Raleigh, providing an opportunity for residents to weigh in on how lines should be drawn that best keep their communities whole.
- No sooner than 24 hours upon completion of proposed new maps, lawmakers should hold another day of public comment at a minimum of 10 satellite sites throughout the state.
- The legislative website should provide a portal for public comment, maps, and submissions that is available for public view at all times.
The state’s highest court has clearly spoken in its landmark ruling against the legislature’s illegal partisan gerrymandering. The people of North Carolina deserve redistricting that is nonpartisan, completely transparent, and includes robust public input.