David Meeker, a small business owner in Raleigh, says that partisan gerrymandering is hurting North Carolina's economy because it shields legislators from accountability to their constituents.
"If you look at North Carolina and the lack of progress we've made, it's all because of gerrymandering," Meeker said. "Gerrymandering does two things: one, it takes away people's vote, because even if you go vote, it doesn't count because the districts are so gerrymandered. And when folks don't have to compete in elections, they can have views that don't represent the public. That's bad for business, always."
Meeker is among the majority of North Carolinians that support independent redistricting reform, which would take the power of drawing voting maps away from partisan lawmakers and give it to an impartial body. Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, and Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, have signaled that they also favor such a change.
Ending gerrymandering would lead to districts that better reflect North Carolina's population and increase competition in elections, Meeker said.
"We need folks to have close districts, and have them be competitive, so that folks have to answer to their constituents – and that will always help business," Meeker said. "That way, when the business owner calls their elected official, they have a voice, while currently there is no voice."