If you live in a “swing state” like North Carolina or Texas, or have more than a passing interest in democracy, you are probably aware of how severely Republicans have gerrymandered state and federal electoral districts. Rather than voters being able to pick our representatives, they have drawn lines to pick the voters they want, and packed the rest of us into as few districts as possible. It’s been remarkably effective and has led to passing legislation like HB2 with total impunity since the GOP leaders know their majority can’t be threatened with the current districts, even though our state actually has way more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Don’t believe it? I just looked up the latest stats from the state board of elections, and as of 7/29/17 we had 39% Democrats, 30% Republicans, 30% unaffiliated, and less than 1% Libertarian. (Unaffiliated has been growing rapidly, for good reason. Don’t make the mistake of assuming these are centrist voters.) Meanwhile our NC senate is 68% Republican and our house representatives are 62% Republican.
You might also know that The Supreme Court found that NC’s districts are racially gerrymandered and told the state legislature to redraw them and hold a special election ASAP. I was skeptical that Republicans wouldn’t just redraw them in a way that ensured their majorities but didn’t follow racial lines as closely. But in fact, they haven’t even done that. They have been filing appeals and dragging their feet, as explained in the timeline in this very helpful article by NC Policy Watch, “Republicans silent in wake of court order to draw new maps in one month”.
So the NC house and senate redistricting committees are now taking comments online, and they are meeting tomorrow so it’s a great time to let them know that you value representative democracy.