North Carolina legislature’s redistricting process has been a failure of transparency
With new maps just unveiled, the people of North Carolina must have ample time to review and comment on proposed voting districts – and lawmakers must be responsive to the public’s concerns
RALEIGH – After weeks of map-drawing behind closed doors and completely out of public view, North Carolina Republican legislators today unveiled newly proposed voting districts.
If adopted, those districts could be in place until the 2032 elections. The House Committee on Redistricting is scheduled to take up the proposed districts for discussion at its meeting on Thursday at 11:00 a.m., followed by the Senate Committee on Redistricting and Elections that same day at 2:00 p.m.
The map reveal comes after the legislature held only three public hearings last month in locations that put attendance out of reach for most residents in the state. Those three hearings were just a fraction of those held in past redistricting cycles.
The following is a statement from Bob Phillips, Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina:
“The legislature’s latest redistricting process has thus far been a total failure of transparency. A handful of politicians drew new districts behind closed doors, keeping the public in the dark. But lawmakers still have a chance to do better.
Now that newly proposed districts have been revealed, the legislature must give the public a realistic opportunity to review and comment on the draft maps. Legislators should hold widely promoted and accessible public hearings across the state, outside of traditional business hours to allow working people to attend and provide input. Those hearings should be livestreamed, with video recordings posted promptly online. An online comment portal should continue to be available, and the legislature should also provide public access to all comments submitted. Further map-drawing should be done in full public view, with accessible live video streaming.
And this is key: lawmakers need to actually listen and be responsive to the feedback they receive from the public. Legislators should keep in mind that North Carolina’s voting districts don’t belong to politicians, our districts belong to the people. How the districts are drawn will directly impact our communities and our freedom to choose our representatives.
North Carolina deserves an open and fully transparent redistricting process, with robust public participation. And the people of our state deserve fair voting maps that respect our rights and are completely free from discriminatory gerrymandering.”
Last month, Common Cause North Carolina joined more than 50 groups sending a letter to legislators calling for an open and transparent redistricting process.
Common Cause North Carolina is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.