NC legislature’s redistricting public hearing plan falls short, fails to allow for virtual participation amid COVID concerns

RALEIGH – On Wednesday, the NC House and Senate redistricting committees will hold a public hearing in Caldwell County on the drawing of new congressional and legislative voting districts. This is the first of 13 such public hearings in different parts of the state. However, redistricting committee leaders have refused to make available a live video stream of the hearings or offer a way for residents to participate virtually in real time amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

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

“The public’s voice matters in how new legislative and congressional maps are drawn in North Carolina. As the COVID-19 virus ravages our state once again, it is disappointing that lawmakers are holding a series of public hearings on redistricting without an opportunity for community members to take part virtually in these meetings from the safety of their homes. Every public hearing should be livestreamed with people able to participate remotely in real time.

Also, a series of statewide public hearings after the maps are drawn is essential for North Carolinians to be able to react to how the proposed voting districts impact their community. The current plans of having public meetings only in Raleigh after the maps are drawn is completely unacceptable.

Redistricting committee leaders have stated repeatedly that they want this to be the best redistricting process ever. We at Common Cause NC want the same thing. Virtual participation available in real time and public hearings held in multiple parts of the state after the maps are drawn must be part of the process. Otherwise, far too many North Carolinians will be shut out of redistricting.”

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