Commentary

Editorial: 2017 special election isn’t the answer to GOP gerrymandering

This morning’s lead editorial in the Fayetteville Observer is on the mark with its take on the special legislative election that the a federal court has ordered for North Carolina in 2017. It points out that though the new round of voting has the potential to do some good, it doesn’t address the central problem. Here’s the conclusion:

“Republican leaders were predictably unhappy with the court decision. Sen. Bob Rucho of Mecklenburg County and Rep. David Lewis of Harnett County, both Republicans, are the principal architects of the state’s voting districts. They said in a joint statement Tuesday that the ruling “would effectively undo the will of millions of North Carolinians just days after they cast their ballots.”

But that’s exactly what Rucho and Lewis did when they drew those districts, creating sometimes bizarre boundaries intended to cluster as many African-American voters as possible into as few districts as possible. Because most African-Americans are reliably Democratic, jamming many of them into a few districts – in this case, 28 of the General Assembly’s 170 House and Senate districts – gave Republicans an easier route to dominate many adjoining districts and maintain control. It was effective but, three federal judges ruled, unconstitutional….

It’s unclear if the governor or legislative leaders will appeal the decision, but we see a better route: End this gerrymandering nonsense for good by creating the nonpartisan redistricting commission that Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past – including the current leaders, albeit only when they were in the minority.

These redistricting battles are endless, frustrating and unnecessary. We all know what the better way is. Let’s make it happen.”

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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