Lawmakers heard comments from the public at a redistricting committee meeting on Friday packed with voices from the Left calling for non-partisan redistricting to get politics out of redistricting, as reforms come to the state legislative districts over the remainder of the month.
The state has been ordered to redraw the 28 legislative districts that were ruled as illegal racial gerrymanders by Sep. 1, pushing forward the planned Sep. 6 special session for redistricting.
Redrawing the 28 districts will likely have an impact on most, if not all, of the state’s 170 legislative districts, possibly drastically changing the makeup of the legislature after the 2018 elections.
Nearly all who spoke at the meeting rallied for redistricting reform as opposed to the legislative party in power holding the chips when it came to redistricting reform.
The calls for non-partisan redistricting have been on the rise since Republicans took control of the legislature in 2010, gaining the power over the redistricting process.
Redistricting has always been a political process but has recently come under fire as more data has become available to those drawing the maps.
In fact some commenting at the meeting asked that legislators ignore much of that data when drawing maps, such as voting data, incumbent addresses and make up of the districts.
According to WRAL during the comment period Mike Jennings of Cary said, “Let’s turn the corner. My children, my grandchildren, are depending on you to keep this a democracy that works for everyone.”
Opposed to the rest of the commenters was Dallas Woodhouse, Executive Director of the North Carolina Republican Party, who spoke in support of the status quo.
Woodhouse said it was not the committee’s job to make Democrats more competitive across the state when the majority of Democrats live in the urban areas of the state.
“The minority party in this body has a geography problem,” he said.
Again Tom Hofeller will be used by legislators to draw these new maps, as he did in 2011.
Hofeller is a known map-drawer across the state, working to help maintain Republican majorities in the state.
There will be more meetings, and public hearings, as the process moves forward over the rest of the month.