Be sure to check out this morning’s lead editorial on WRAL.com, “Voters lose, gerrymandering wins. It needs to stop.” Here’s an excerpt:
“Imagine buying seven apples and six oranges at the grocery store only to get home and discover the store decided you should have 10 apples and just three oranges.
That’s exactly what is happening to voters in North Carolina. Tuesday 49.7 percent of the state’s voters picked Democrats to send to the U.S. House of Representatives. But only three Democrats (23 percent) actually were elected.
It gets worse. Fifty-one percent of the voters picked Democrats to serve in the state Senate. How many won? Just 42 percent. So Republicans will hold 29 of 50 Senate seats. The same thing happened in the state House of Representatives. Republicans will hold 66 of the 120 seats even though 51 percent of the voters picked Democrats.
How can a majority of voters cast their ballots one way only to see the result be the opposite?”
After explaining that the answer is, of course, North Carolina’s absurdly gerrymandered districts, the editorial continues:
“The unfairness is to voters who expressed their will but see it subverted and ignored by those who are supposed to serve them. The result is an out-of-control legislative majority and leadership with a radical agenda that’s out of step with citizens’ views and desires. The evidence is overwhelming – highlighted by policy blunders like House Bill 2 and the two power-grab state Constitutional amendments voters just overwhelmingly rejected.
This is not a surprise. The courts have repeatedly ruled, since the districts were redrawn in 2012, that they are illegal – both because of racial discrimination and excessive partisanship.
North Carolina has suffered too long under laws passed by an illegally constituted legislature. North Carolina taxpayers have wasted millions in legal fees defending the indefensible.
Sixty-nine current and newly-elected legislators (44 Democrats and six Republicans in the state House and 19 Democratic state senators) have signed Common Cause’s ‘Fair Maps Pledge.’ In addition, eight Republicans were among the sponsors of a bill, that was never heard, to establish a nonpartisan redistricting commission.
When legislators convene later this month, rather than looking to weaken Gov. Roy Cooper and further shore up their diminished authority, legislative leaders should openly discuss and have the General Assembly adopt an independent, nonpartisan process for congressional and legislative redistricting.
Get the job done. Make North Carolina elections fair again.”