Good government advocates will descend on the Legislative Building this morning to demand that lawmakers make good on their commitment to consider legislation in 2017 that would establish a fair and nonpartisan redistricting process. And, judging by a new poll released this morning, the honorables would do well to pay attention. This is from the good folks ta Democracy North carolina:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Trump Supporters, Black Voters Agree: District Maps are Rigged
New Poll Supports Voters’ Call for Redistricting Reform
RALEIGH, N.C. — What’s one thing that Donald Trump supporters and African Americans in North Carolina agree on? By large majorities, according to a new poll, they think the way state legislators draw their political districts is unfair and too influenced by partisan politics.
The poll, commissioned by the nonpartisan group Democracy North Carolina, reveals unusually broad support across the political spectrum for redistricting reform.
Overall, four out of five North Carolina voters (80%) say it’s not fair for politicians to draw their own districts. That includes 85% of Democrats, 74% of Republicans, 80% of independents – as well as 70% of Trump supporters and 80% of African Americans.
The poll also shows that voters want elected leaders who will change the system.
A majority of Democrats (58%) and Republicans (56%) agreed they’d be more likely to vote for candidates who support an impartial method for drawing voting districts. Support for reform is even more important among the crucial sector of unaffiliated voters; 68% say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who favors an impartial redistricting system.
“People recognize that politicians are choosing their voters, instead of the other way around,” said Democracy NC spokesperson Jen Jones. “By using computers, politicians can draw lines that separate voters by race and party, create safe districts, and shield themselves from the will of the people. It’s not fair, and voters across party lines want the process to change.”
Full poll results here.
Democracy NC is a member of the NC Coalition for Lobbying and Governmental Reform, which spans the liberal-conservative spectrum, from the NC Justice Center to the John Locke Foundation. The coalition is holding a press conference at 10:30 today in front of the General Assembly that features the diverse voices of ordinary citizens who support redistricting reform.
The citizens are presenting thousands of petitions to NC House Speaker Tim Moore later today. They are also using the poll’s findings to show legislators the breadth of support for reform.
The poll says a solid majority of all voters, regardless of age, race, gender or party affiliation think the current process of legislators drawing districts is wrong and too partisan. Opposition is strongest among women, and the importance of choosing a candidate who favors reform increases with the voters’ age. About equal shares of white and black (81% v. 80%) voters think the current system is unfair, but black voters are more likely than whites (94% v. 59%) to be very concerned about the influence of partisan favoritism on how maps are drawn.
The poll was conducted April 4-5 by Public Policy Polling and has a +/- error margin of 4%.
Democracy North Carolina is a statewide nonpartisan organization that uses research, organizing, and training to increase civic participation, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and remove systemic barriers to voting and serving in elected office.