NC Voting Rights Groups Demand Open Redistricting Process

A coalition of North Carolina voting rights organizations are demanding an open process for drawing the state’s legislative and congressional districts, outlined in a redistricting recommendations letter emailed to state legislators on Monday.

The redistricting process in many states has already begun, but not in North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release block-level data, used in redistricting, in mid-August. In anticipation of this release, the letter’s authors — Common Cause NC, League of Women Voters of North Carolina, Democracy North Carolina, the North Carolina NAACP, Carolina Jews for Justice, Asociación de Dominicanos de Raleigh North Carolina (ADORA NC), NC Counts Coalition, Disability Rights NC, El Pueblo, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice — sent their recommendations to House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate Leader Phil Berger and members of both the House and Senate redistricting committees. The comprehensive letter describes how North Carolina can ensure a fair, inclusive, timely, and transparent process this redistricting cycle.

The letter includes:

  • A redistricting timeline that ensures informed and impactful public comment at every step of the process, including public comment solicited before and after draft maps are drawn;
  • Recommendations for meaningful public comment opportunities, including in-person hearings throughout the state, with options for providing written public comment as well; and
  • Increased transparency throughout the redistricting process through broadcasting public hearings and making all proposed maps fully accessible to the public.

The groups’ proposals for expanding North Carolinians’ access to the 2021 redistricting process come as many Republican state legislators return from the weekend’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Conference. ALEC is notorious for providing politicians with ready-made legislation designed to advance anti-voter policies.

In a joint statement, the groups said that making this year’s redistricting process transparent, participatory, and accessible to all North Carolinians should be lawmakers’ top priority.

“The districts drawn by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2021 will shape North Carolinians’ lives and communities for the next decade. Instead of traveling thousands of miles to adopt a national agenda meant to erode certain people’s political power, our state’s lawmakers should be seeking homegrown solutions from everyday North Carolinians. Our recommendations provide a blueprint for meaningful public input which will make our 2021 redistricting process fair, inclusive, timely, and transparent. Taking these steps will not only ensure North Carolina’s legislative and congressional maps are the most inclusive and representative in history, but they could also set a generation-defining precedent for the rest of the country.”

Read the full letter here.