North Carolina’s Redistricting Mess

A federal trial court recently ruled the 1st and 12th Congressional districts in North Carolina to be illegal due to their being drawn on a racial basis, and the court ordered that they be redrawn within 2 weeks (and before the March 15, 2016 primary in which absentee votes have already been cast). The State has appealed to the Supreme Court for a stay of the ruling and a decision is pending.

The N.C. General Assembly held a public hearing today to prepare for a rapid rewriting of these two Congressional districts later this week. There was also an option of supplying written comments to the Redistricting Committee with several hundred persons doing so.

I submitted a comment, that is reproduced below.

The heart of redistricting is the same today as when the Dems ran the state. The winners pick districts to help them remain winners. The BIG difference is the Dem party had ideological diversity when they ran the state. The Dem hold seemed impossible to break but it broke. Your hold will also someday break. Use this ruling to not only come up with a short term solution to hold and election this year (which you must do of course), but to find a route to a 2020 plan that is a bit more bipartisan and reasonable. You guys wont hold the reins as long as the Dems did, BECAUSE they had far more ideological diversity than you do, and so better represented the state.You need to come up with a way that charts a new approach, and in doing so you will deserve credit for doing something high minded and for the best interests of the state. You will also make it better for your party when do you go back to the minority, which of course will inevitably happen some day. I am unsure of the best way to draw lines. There are models. I do know that my mother in Goldsboro being in the 1st, and someone who lives less than a mile from me also being in the 1st (I am barely in the 4th) makes no sense. Respectfully, but clearly submitted because I know you are all busy.

This post from June, 2013 has a bit more about the difference between the current one party Republican rule as compared to the multi-decade Democratic party rule in North Carolina.

About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute), and Chair of the Academic Council at Duke University . I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy. My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

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