House Bill 200: A Plan to End Gerrymandering in NC

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers have introduced House Bill 200 to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process for North Carolina.

Here is what House Bill 200 would do:

Instead of lawmakers drawing their own districts for partisan advantage, a nonpartisan legislative staff would create congressional and legislative maps completely blind of any political consideration.

The bill would take effect for the next redistricting cycle, in 2021.

How it works:

• Nonpartisan legislative staff draws maps.
• Plan submitted to legislature by April 1st.
• Public hearings conducted by citizens advisory commission.
• Legislature votes plan up or down within 14 days.

Staff process:

• Staff works on plan in private. No partisan influence is allowed.
• Staff plan focuses on principles over politics.
• Staff plan adheres to all requirements of the Voting Rights Act.
• Districts cannot be drawn to favor an incumbent or political party.
• Staff plan reflects whole-county rule and districts that are compact and contiguous.

Legislative Process:

• Plan can be amended only on technical grounds.
• If the legislature rejects the maps, it must offer a reason for its “no” vote within seven days.
• Staff has 35 days to submit a second plan based on those reasons.
• Legislature must vote the second plan up or down within seven days and again offer an explanation for a “no” vote.
• If the second plan fails, the nonpartisan staff draws a third plan, which could then be amended by lawmakers.

Other features:

• Temporary Citizens Redistricting Advisory Commission holds public hearings after the first plan is drafted.
• The Commission provides staff with technical advice and feedback if needed.
• Staff has no contact with the legislature while drawing the maps.

The plan is patterned after the nonpartisan redistricting system used successfully by Iowa for over 30 years.