The best op-ed of the weekend

If you missed it, be sure to check out the featured Sunday op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer by Melissa Price Kromm of North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections. In it, she explains why our state desperately needs the General Assembly to pass a recently introduced omnibus reform bill that has been aptly dubbed the “Fix Our Democracy Act.”

Not only would the proposal fix our state’s broken redistricting system and end partisan gerrymandering, it would expand and protect the right to vote and reduce the influence of big money in elections.

This is from the essay:

The Fix Our Democracy Act would put an end to this cycle, making it safe and accessible for North Carolinians to register to vote while protecting registered voters from getting purged right before an election. The bill would also create small-donor financing programs for all our statewide courts, insulating them from special interest influence. These same special interests would be required under the bill to disclose their identities and campaign spending in all political contests. After all, if you’re going to be spending serious money in our elections, you better be ready to face North Carolina voters.

And cleaning up our political system doesn’t stop there. Every 10 years, new legislative districts need to be drawn in North Carolina, and every 10 years North Carolinians are forced to go through the same political circus. In the coming months, our lawmakers will continue this sorry ritual, fighting tooth and nail to draw up district maps to their advantage, using taxpayer dollars to cover massive legal fees the moment their maps are challenged in court. It’s expensive and it’s unnecessary.

The Fix Our Democracy Act would put an end to this partisan free-for-all, putting redistricting power in the hands of a citizen commission staffed by regular North Carolinians. That’s important, because, without fair maps, there’s no way voters can expect to get a fair shake on Election Day. In the end, a fair shake is all North Carolinians are asking for.

The bill is not utterly comprehensive — there would be more to do even if it is enacted “as is” — but it’s a great start and precisely the kind of legislation state lawmakers should be championing in 2021.
Click here to explore the legislation.

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