At its most recent meeting the Council Governing Board unanimously endorsed Fair Districts NC’s Five Principles for Reasonable Redistricting Reform (RRR).
The five RRR principles, shown at right, provide guidelines for the design of an independent citizens’ redistricting commission to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts. The principles are based on a detailed study by the NC League of Women Voters of 50 bills introduced last year in 15 states around the country proposing to create redistricting commissions, as well as existing commissions in 18 states. Since the study was completed earlier this year, three more states have voted to redistrict by commission.
Currently, the NC legislature draws its own maps as well as those for the state’s representatives in Congress. District maps are not subject to the governor’s veto. Governance experts argue that having legislators draw their own districts creates a conflict of interest, giving rise to such anti-democratic practices as extreme gerrymandering, reduced accountability to voters, and an imbalance between votes and seats won. For example, in the 2018 state election, the party that received a majority of the votes for both NC House and Senate seats won only 42% of the seats in the Senate and 46% of seats in the House.
The Council will work with Fair Districts NC to broaden discussion and dialogue on redistricting reform with particular attention to how gerrymandering reduces our ability to build a more just society meeting the needs of all North Carolinians. Council Executive Director, Jennifer Copeland, stated: “One of the major tenets of our faith is the sacred worth of each one created in the Image of God. If each one is so valuable in the eyes of God, it only stands to reason that each person’s vote is valuable and should count. Partisan districts devalue the vote and, by extension, the voter.”
Fair Districts NC is a nonpartisan initiative working to achieve redistricting reform in time for the 2021 redrawing. It advocates for an independent citizens’ commission to draw district maps that permit voters to pick their representatives, not the other way around.