A change to Wake County elections, driven by state legislators, drew a step closer to passage Tuesday. After more than two weeks below the radar, Senate Bill 181 reappeared before a state House committee with less than 24 hours’ notice. Republican Sen. Chad Barefoot’s bill would redraw electoral district lines and create two new super-districts, each representing half the county, for the Wake County Board of Commissioners. Instead of casting ballots in each race, as they do now, voters would be limited to two races each. The change likely would curtail the influence of Raleigh’s heavy Democratic presence in current countywide elections. The new lines would consolidate partisan voters in some districts, to a potential Republican advantage.
Rep. Paul Stam, a House leader, spoke in favor of the bill, which already has passed the Senate and won a favorable committee report Tuesday. It goes to a second reading on the House floor on Wednesday.
“At-large districts are bad policy,” Stam said, referring to Wake’s method of allowing all voters to have a say in every race.