May 3, 2013. A new study shows how gerrymandering distorts elections in North Carolina while a new poll finds overwhelming public support for changing the redistricting process.
The study points out the decades long history of gerrymandering in North Carolina. Polling shows 70 percent of North Carolinians favor redistricting reform.
The study, released today, substantiates what most North Carolinians already suspected: the party in power uses redistricting to disenfranchise voters who don’t support them. It makes it clear that gerrymandering has been the norm for redistricting in North Carolina assuring that the party in power will win a disproportion number of seats. It was done by Dr. Larry King and Dr. Mark Nance for the NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform.
In 1992, when they were in charge of drawing the maps, the Democrats received 52 percent of the votes in the NC House but got 67 percent of the seats, and in the Senate got 55 percent of the votes and held 78 percent of the seats. Twenty years later, with the Republicans in charge, the Republicans received 54 percent of the vote for the NC House and held 64 percent of the seats. The vote for the NC Senate split 50-50 but the republicans hold 66 percent of the seats and the Democrats 34 percent.
The study also highlights the high number of races that are not contested as a sign of how clearly districts are drawn for partisan advantage. The lack of competitive races discourages many candidates. It also allows political parties to play to their extremes.
Seventy percent of North Carolinians believe that redistricting should be done by nonpartisan professional legislative staff in a poll released on Monday. This is true regardless of party- seventy-three of Republicans, sixty – nine percent of Democrats, and sixty-nine percent of unaffiliated voters. The poll was conducted by SurveyUSA for the NC Center for Voter Education.
House Bill 606, Non- Partisan Redistricting , which was introduced in the NC House last month, creates a system for non-partisan redistricting with the maps drawn by professional staff. It establishes strict criteria for drawing the districts. They must be:
- follow state and federal law.
The bill ,which was written by Representatives Paul Stam (R-Wake), Chuck McGrady(R-Henderson), Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland), and Deborah Ross (D-Wake), has an additional 57 co-sponsors.
The North Carolina Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform has more than 50 group and individual members who are committed to open, transparent government accountable to the citizens of our state.