The joint redistricting committee convened for the second time Friday, after having received further instruction from courts in the form of a Sept. 1 deadline for new legislative maps. With the hastened schedule, committee members offered suggestions for the use of specific criteria and also heard input from nearly 50 members of the voting public on what they think should guide the process. Key Democrats offered their criteria and commentary during a press conference preceding the meeting, arguing that while leaps in technology have made gerrymandering more effective, technology should also be used to ensure fair maps are drawn. “Attorneys defending the current maps said they’re serious about remedying this and creating a constitutional map, and we’re here today to help them create a constitutional map,” said Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue (Wake). “Up to this point the actions taken by the [Republican] majority don’t instill a lot of faith in their sincerity in bringing these legislative maps in compliance with the law.”
Sen. Ben Clark (D-Cumberland) presented a list of suggested criteria to be used in the redistricting process that he said would ensure better representation for North Carolina voters.
“When the redistricting committee meets today it should receive in good faith recommendations of the citizens that will speak,” said Clark. “It should do so in order to foster a set of criteria, or establish a set a of criteria that will enable us to put together fair maps that represent the state and citizens of North Carolina.”
Clark went on to say that, despite current maps being thrown out for unconstitutional racial considerations, the redrawing effort should not pursue partisan advantage either. Instead, redistricting should aim to “establish partisan symmetry.”