Democracy Coalition Follows Gov. Cooper in Calling for Independent Redistricting Commission
RALEIGH – Following comments from Governor Cooper about the need for an independent redistricting commission to secure equitable voting throughout North Carolina, a diverse group of people and organizations that reflect the state’s demographics are pushing for elected officials to meet Cooper’s call. North Carolina holds a unique opportunity to increase transparency and participation among voters, especially as the largest growing segment of the state’s voting population identify as nonpartisan.
This week the coalition held a press conference and launched an online petition to call for a fair redistricting process through an independent, community-led redistricting commission. Recent polling shows that the people of North Carolina are tired of politicians engaging in partisan gamesmanship while wasting taxpayer dollars on unnecessary litigation year after year.
Gerrymandering efforts throughout the state has cost North Carolina between $10-25 million from 2011-2023, while more effective and far more democratic solutions exist. These civil society, nonprofit and community-led groups are leading efforts to unify communities rather than allowing partisan efforts to tear them apart for political gain.
“It is a fact that our most vulnerable communities, specifically our Black, Brown and low wealth communities, are the most directly impacted by gerrymandering,” said Jovita Lee, Program and Policy Director, NC Black Alliance and Advance Carolina. “It strips their ability to develop adequate and equitable political power by diluting their representation and creating a more difficult pathway to the ballot box. As a state, we deserve a transparent process that is led by the actual community who will be impacted by the process. An independent redistricting commission will achieve that.”
“We wanted to envision a redistricting process that puts the actual people of North Carolina and their communities first. The people of North Carolina are tired of partisan gamesmanship and gerrymandering – not only do we know that from recent polling but we also see that evidenced by the fact that the largest growing segment of voters in our state are unaffiliated voters,” said Kyle Hamilton Brazile, Director of Civic Engagement for NC Counts Coalition. “We also want to embrace the uniqueness of North Carolina in a way that draws lines to unify communities and not tear them apart, as the current redistricting process has done time and again for decades. That is why we support a truly independent redistricting commission that draws political boundaries in a way that makes sense for the people of the state, and puts the people’s interest over the politicians’.”
“Twenty twenty-four will be the 100 years that we, Indigenous Peoples of the United States, were granted Citizenship of the United States,” said Mary Crowe with Eastern Cherokee Organization. “Henry Owle, the first member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill soon after and went to vote in Swain County and was denied the right to vote.”
“Having politicians draw their own voting districts is one of the biggest conflicts of interest in our government,” said Tyler Daye with Common Cause NC. “When Democrats and Republicans have been in power in the North Carolina legislature, they both have shown an unwillingness to draw maps that do not favor their party. We need a better process, and the Independent Redistricting Commission in S642 provides that, placing the power of drawing the people’s voting districts where it should be in the hands of the everyday people of this state, not politicians.”
“When I hear about any piece of legislation, the first questions I ponder are ‘Is it fair?’ and ‘How does it impact the lives of people?’ If these questions are not answered in the affirmative, it does not pass the litmus test,” said Conchita McIver with North Carolina Counts Coalition.
Coalition members include: CROWD/Venture Enterprise, NC Counts Coalition, NC Black Alliance, N.C. Voters Clean Election, NC Counts Coalition, NC Asian Americans Together (NCAAT), Advance North Carolina, El Pueblo, Democracy NC, Common Cause NC, NC A Philip Randolph Inst., Fville Chapter, Action NC, Friends of the Earth, Raleigh Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Public Interest Network, League of Women Voters NC, Hispanic Federation, NC Business Council, Eastern Cherokee Organization, Redistricting Foundation, BluePrint NC, NC APRI Charlotte, Southern Vision Alliance, Robeson County Sustainable Development Co-op.