The NC General Assembly today adopted a highly controversial measure that will radically change Greensboro's voting maps ahead of this fall's local elections.
The bill in question, H263, originally dealt just with unrelated modifications to elections for the City of Trinity in Randolph County. However, after a separate bill (S36) dealing with Greensboro redistricting stalled in the face of House opposition and an outcry from that city's residents, members of the Senate inserted that stalled bill's language into the Trinity measure.
On Monday of this week, the House rejected those changes, sending H263 to a small conference committee. On Wednesday, that conference committee released yet another version of the bill, with additional alterations to Greensboro's local election maps, and still with no referendum to allow for voter approval of the changes.
After initially rejecting the conference committee report by a vote of 50-53 on Thursday, the House reversed course minutes later and, through parliamentary maneuvers, passed the measure 57-46. The Senate then adopted the bill on a vote of 33-16, making it law.
The following is a statement by Dennis Burns, chairman of Common Cause North Carolina, in response to today's passage of the Greensboro redistricting bill.
"The legislature's action today is deeply troubling. With little notice and with no public input, yet another version of sweeping changes to Greensboro's local government was drawn up behind closed doors by a small group of politicians and rammed through against the wishes of the people of Greensboro.
"Politicians in the capital should not be empowered to redraw local voting maps on a whim -- just four months before an election -- and especially not when those changes fly in the face of what the vast majority of residents in those localities believe to be right for their community. Fortunately, a growing number of Republicans and Democrats agree that we need a better way. We must work together to establish a redistricting process in North Carolina that is fair, transparent and takes party politics out of the way we draw our voting maps."
Common Cause North Carolina is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.
More information on redistricting reform efforts in North Carolina can be found at EndGerrymanderingNow.org.