Republicans in 2011 carved North Carolina into new districts from which public officials are elected, creating 170 areas for state lawmakers and 13 for members of Congress in a required effort to maintain balanced populations. Democrats and left-leaning groups complained that the new maps intentionally deflated their candidates’ chances in the state and federal elections, but courts have upheld the redistricting effort — which is necessary after every Census — as fair, legal and based on sound methodologies. But there’s a reinvigorated movement among officials and policy groups with ties to both political parties who say they’re sick of gerrymandering, or at least of the public skepticism that comes when politicians handle how the voting areas are drawn.
Many of the legislative districts are not competitive, and instead virtually assure a candidate from one party or the other will win. At the Congressional level, the state has been closely split among Republican and Democratic voters, but the new districts helped Republicans to a 10-3 advantage.
Democrats were in power in North Carolina for years, and often also came under similar criticism for the hard-to-understand district shapes and results of their redistricting plans. They also were accused of limiting or cutting certain voting groups’ collective power by packing them into just a few districts or thinning them out among many.
Changing the system will be the focus of a bipartisan effort to be announced Tuesday in Raleigh, according to Rep. Rick Glazier, a Fayetteville Democrat. He has previously sponsored past bills, with Republicans, to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process.