The lopsided 2014 election results leave little reason to expect Republicans and Democrats to work together in the upcoming General Assembly session. Republicans are riding high after retaining veto-proof majorities in both legislative chambers. Democrats believe that the GOP’s super-majority control is undeserved and that gerrymandered elections unfairly pushed them to the sidelines. Ironically, agreement may be attainable on the very issue that has most divided the parties – redistricting. That is, if they can take a cue from what Republicans and Democrats recently achieved in Ohio.
It was considered a minor miracle last month when both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly reached broad bi-partisan consensus on reforming how election districts will be redrawn after the 2020 census. Ohio legislators overwhelmingly agreed for voters to decide this November on adding redistricting reform to the state constitution.
That’s precisely the outcome redistricting reform advocates in North Carolina hope to achieve. There was brief headway in 2011 when the state House passed legislation for “nonpartisan redistricting.” But it stalled in the state Senate and hasn’t moved since.