Commentary, News

League of Women Voters: NC congressional redistricting process remains flawed

Criticism of the congressional redistricting process that’s been taking place at the General Assembly in recent days continues to grow — particularly around the issues of transparency and opportunities for public input.

The group issued the following statement this morning:

The League of Women Voters of Wake County (LWV-Wake) has carefully monitored every day of the current congressional redistricting process. League of Women Voters of Wake County president Dianna Wynn says “We have concerns with the lack of full transparency and the nominal role public input has played in the process. Contrary to how redistricting is repeatedly approached in this state, voting maps are not for politicians. These are the people’s maps, and the people of North Carolina should have a greater voice in this process.”

The committee provided an online portal for public comment. During the legislative redistricting process, LWV-Wake requested that public comments be made public on the website. We appreciate that comments are now viewable as part of the current process. The portal, however, was insufficiently publicized to voters. Furthermore, we do not know if committee members bothered to consider the public’s concerns throughout the process. The public must be assured that their comments are not going into a virtual black hole, never to be seriously reviewed or considered by our elected officials.

LWV-Wake president Dianna Wynn says “I don’t know if committee members reviewed the comments submitted by the public. I did–I read them all. North Carolina voters want a much more transparent process and an end to gerrymandering.” If committee members read the public’s comments, they will find that voters want:

  • No incumbent protection drawn into the maps.
  • No use of partisan information.
  • No disadvantaging communities of color.
  • More public hearings across the state before and after map drawing.
  • More notice prior to a committee meeting.
  • And the voters want maps drawn by some form of nonpartisan commission and not by politicians driven by self-interest.

We appreciate the addition of an audio component to the live-streamed video of the computer terminals. This is something LWV-Wake requested during the last round of legislative redistricting. However, it is impossible for a voter at her computer across the state to simultaneously watch, as well as listen to, what is happening on four computer terminals. We encourage the General Assembly to explore better options for transparent map drawing that allows the public to see and hear the entire process as it occurs.

Finally, the League of Women Voters has long contended that political data should not be part of the process. We have no assurance that committee members or staff did not consult political data outside the room at any point during the last several days. Dianna Wynn says “We suspect that knowledge of political leanings in different parts of the state was considered, which is certainly counter to the spirit of an impartial map-drawing process.

The League of Women Voters of Wake County is a grassroots nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizens’ participation in government and understanding of important issues through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters does not endorse or oppose political parties or candidates for office. Learn more at www.lwvwake.org.

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