Commentary

Editorial blasts legislature’s “pitiful stall tactics” on redistricting

In case you missed it this morning, today’s lead editorial in the Asheville Citizen-Times (“NCGA’s pitiful stall tactics only delay justice”) blasts the ongoing “dog ate my lunch” excuses of legislative leaders when it comes to drawing new and fair legislative districts. In lamenting the legislature’s ongoing inaction and the recent refusal of a panel of three federal judges to order immediate action to redraw the state’s unconstitutional maps, the editorial says this:

Gerrymandering is as old as, well, Elbridge Gerry, the Massachusetts governor who in 1812 signed a state redistricting bill that created one district shaped somewhat like a salamander. Both parties have practiced it diligently, in North Carolina and elsewhere. What has changed is the advent of technology that makes it possible to gerrymander much more efficiently.

How efficiently? The two parties are roughly equal in North Carolina, as shows by the close gubernatorial race last year. Yet, Republicans control 10 of 13 seats in the U.S. House, 74 of 120 N.C. House seats and 35 of 50 seats in the N.C. Senate.

Quite simply, the effect of the most recent court ruling is to leave half of North Carolina’s people effectively without a voice in state government until 2019. We understand the cost and confusion that would result from multiple elections next year, but the price is little enough to pay for fair representation.

In the long run, however, the only answer is to take districting out of the hands of those who benefit from how the lines are drawn.

Amen. Click here to read the entire editorial.

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