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North Carolina senators propose citizen-led redistricting commission to end gerrymandering, restore election justice

Elected representatives, organizations and residents stand together to end gerrymandering

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina lawmakers today introduced revolutionary legislation aimed at establishing a nonpartisan, citizen-led redistricting commission. The bill, North Carolina Citizens Redistricting Commission Act, will create a gold standard for reforming the current redistricting process and reining in a system that allows North Carolina lawmakers to hand-pick their voters.

Rather than having lawmakers draw voting lines to maintain partisan advantage, the proposed legislation would create a 15-member citizen commission to draw maps free from partisan politics. The citizen commission would include representatives from the Democratic and Republican Parties, and would be mandated to include non-affiliated voters and voters affiliated with other political parties and offer robust public input, transparency and protection of communities of interest. The commission would be reflective of North Carolina’s racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and geographical breakdown.

The proposed redistricting committee will only vote at public hearings and safeguards will ensure the community is involved in the process. Feedback will be highly encouraged through public hearings, email, mail and the website. The committee will be required to answer each question submitted regarding the map. The commission will be tasked to create districts that will be compact, contiguous, consider communities of interest and abide by state and federal law.

The North Carolina Citizens Redistricting Commission Act was introduced by three primary sponsors: Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Chatham, Orange), Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) and Sen. Erica D. Smith (D-Beaufort, Bertie, Martin, Northampton, Vance, Warren).

According to polling, 59 percent of North Carolinian voters are in favor of election reform. Across North Carolina, more than 300 locally elected leaders have called on the legislature to enact nonpartisan redistricting. 

“Unfair maps make our representatives less responsive, our votes less meaningful, and our politics more toxic. Progress will take several forms, but by separating map drawing from the incentive to rig, independent redistricting is critical to a comprehensive solution.” – Tomas Lopez, leader of Democracy North Carolina

“Wouldn’t it seem that in our quest to form ‘a more perfect Union’ that would indeed ‘insure domestic tranquility’ that we would aim for the moral high-ground in order to ‘promote the general welfare’? We must demand higher standards on redistricting; standards that are just and as pure as gold. This bill does that.” – Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP

“The majority of North Carolina voters want a fair and transparent redistricting process that will give them a real voice in selecting their representatives. This bill would end decades of rigged maps drawn behind closed doors by creating a nonpartisan citizens commission with clear rules and plenty of room for citizens’ voices to be heard.” – Janet Hoy, co-president of the NC League of Women Voters

“North Carolina has become an example of how unjust elections and gerrymandering can literally poison our communities. Far too often, voters who live in gerrymandered districts find themselves face-to-face with a biohazard in their backyard. Redistricting reform is vital to stopping politicians from using election maps as a weapon against the residents of our state.” – La’Meshia Whittington-Kaminski, North Carolina democracy campaigner, Friends of the Earth

Contact: Patrick Davis, (202) 222-0744, pdavis@foe.org

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