Legislature’s deeply flawed redistricting fails the people of North Carolina

RALEIGH – On Thursday, the state legislature adopted new congressional and legislative voting districts for North Carolina.

The following is a statement from Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC:

“Well before map drawing began this year, we called on the state legislature to implement a fair, transparent and inclusive redistricting process that would put people above politics. We asked for a clear timeline for the process, more public hearings and better public accessibility for the map drawing sessions. Sadly, our requests were generally ignored and legislative leaders have failed the people of North Carolina. Lawmakers chose to engage in a needlessly chaotic process without allowing meaningful public input and without complying with crucial legal requirements to protect voting rights.

The very criteria adopted by the legislature to create voting maps was severely flawed. Against pleas from redistricting experts, committee leaders refused to follow the law, which requires determining levels of racially polarized voting before drawing districts. The decision by committee leaders to cynically reject that legal requirement could unconstitutionally deprive Black voters of a voice in choosing their representatives for years to come.

Lawmakers did not hold sufficient hearings before and after draft voting maps were released. Legislative leaders largely ignored public comments presented at those limited hearings and submitted online.

The legislature’s map drawing process itself fell short of the transparency our state needed. With just one overhead camera showing the committee rooms from an eye-straining distance, and as many as eight livestreamed feeds for map drawing at a time, it was extremely difficult for North Carolinians watching online to see who was drawing maps and to clearly follow along in the process.

Draft districts were posted to the legislative website as static images devoid of context. The legislature did not provide interactive maps that could have allowed the public to better examine the districts and see how the proposed lines affected their communities. It is fair to say the public never had a meaningful opportunity to react and respond to the final proposed maps considered by the redistricting committees.

We are profoundly concerned that the legislature’s deeply flawed redistricting process has produced deeply flawed voting maps. We are troubled that these districts would especially hurt Black voters, harmfully split communities and undermine the freedom of North Carolinians to have a voice in choosing their representatives. Our state deserves better.”

Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy.