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Voting rights advocates gather before redistricting meeting to demand fair maps

Melissa Price Kromm, director of the NC Voters for Clean Elections Coalition, demands fair maps at a press conference. (Photo by Melissa Boughton)

Just three hours before lawmakers were set to attend a joint redistricting committee meeting, voting rights advocates gathered outside the legislature to call for fair maps.

“It’s been almost two months, enough is enough,” said Melissa Price Kromm, Director of NC Voters for Clean Elections.

She was joined by Marcus Bass from Democracy NC, Bob Phillips from Common Cause NC and Sarah Gillooly from the ACLU of North Carolina. They all called on legislators to draw fair maps using a fair process without political or racial gerrymandering.

“I just want to remind the leadership behind us that once upon a time you were in favor of redistricting reform when your party was in the minority,” Phillips said. “Gerrymandering is always wrong, whether it’s the Democrats who did it and whether it’s the Republicans who are arguing it.”

Bass noted that a recent poll showed that voters across the political spectrum want a system that is designed to listen to them and value their vote — something they aren’t getting with a gerrymandered system.

“It is time for the General Assembly leadership to show they understand they are of, by and for the people by embracing redistricting reform and undoing the out of control gerrymandering that has now [been] struck down by the US Supreme Court three times,” he said. “Today is the beginning that should have happened two months ago.”

Similarly, Gillooly talked about how gerrymandering makes some votes count more than others which is opposite of the one person, one vote principle.

“Our government derives its power from we the people and must be accountable to we the people but at the hands of partisan politicians, we have strayed from these core principles in North Carolina,” she said.

The redistricting committee meeting is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. today, although it’s not expected that lawmakers will begin the drawing process. The meeting will be held in room 643 of the Legislative Office Building. An audio stream will be available here.

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