North Carolina will be a key target in former President Barack Obama’s new initiative aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering.
Obama unveiled Redistricting U on Twitter on Monday as a free, in-person organizing training initiative. Dedicated trainers will be sent to cities across the country to “train volunteers, give them the tools to impact the redistricting process in their state, hear from them on how to best make change in their communities, and empower them to be leaders in the movement for fair maps.”
The training is an arm of All On The Line, a grassroots advocacy campaign fighting to end gerrymandering and to implement fair maps ahead of the 2020 Census and next redistricting cycle in 2021. North Carolina is identified on the website as one of 10 priority states where the organization “can have a unique impact on fair representation for the next decade.”
Training is at the heart of organizing. It’s why I’ve always made it a priority – from my 2008 campaign until now. And it’s why I’m proud to announce @allontheline’s in-person training initiative, Redistricting U. Join us: https://t.co/yrWJ50wSdE pic.twitter.com/HiKvGd2XyE
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 26, 2019
Obama has supported the work of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, chaired by former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, since leaving office. All On The Line is a campaign of the National Redistricting Action Fund (NRAF), an affiliate of the NDRC.
It began, in part, when NRAF combined forces with Organizing for Action, an organization founded by Obama aides that grew out of the former president’s campaign infrastructure, according to the website.
“The power of ordinary people coming together to enact change is central to the beliefs of President Obama and Eric Holder, and they are both active in this effort and supportive of this campaign,” it states.
Redistricting has long been an issue in North Carolina — first it was with racial gerrymandering and now the ongoing battle is over partisan gerrymandering, a process in which lawmakers draw voting district lines to maximize their political party, entrenching its power for 10 years at a time.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined this year to limit partisan gerrymandering and instead left the issue up to the states to deal with as they see fit.
North Carolinians are awaiting a decision from a three-judge panel in Wake County Superior Court about whether the 2017 legislative maps that Republican lawmakers passed were an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. That case is expected to eventually work it’s way up to the state Supreme Court, which would have the final say on any partisan gerrymandering limits.