Last week, North Carolina Democrats introduced a bill in Congress that would require transparency in the redistricting process. Titled, The Redistricting Transparency Act, U.S. Reps. Deborah Ross, Wiley Nickel and Valerie Foushee are calling on Congress to pass the bill which would enhance accountability and incorporate public participation.
“Behind closed doors and with scant public input, North Carolina Republicans have effectively silenced voters’ voices by enacting egregiously gerrymandered maps,” stated Congresswoman Ross, in a press release. “North Carolinians are tired of their votes being used as political pawns for partisan gain. That’s why I am proud to lead the North Carolina Democratic delegation in introducing legislation that would reform this backward process – not just in North Carolina, but in states across the country where partisan and racial gerrymandering threaten the strength and vitality of our democracy.”
For years, North Carolina Republicans have produced partisan and gerrymandered voting maps; with the state’s 2020 voting maps being the latest to be ruled as “illegally gerrymandered to favor Republicans”.
For the state’s 2024 elections, North Carolinians, voting rights experts and advocates have called out Republicans for relying on the racially discriminatory tactic once again.
Advocates and residents have filed a lawsuit against in an attempt to overturn all the redistricting plans drawn by Republicans for the 2024 elections, saying legislative leaders unlawfully weakened the electoral influence of Black voters.
“The General Assembly targeted predominantly Black voting precincts with surgical precision throughout the state in drawing and enacting the 2023 Plans, at the expense of traditional redistricting criteria, to achieve preferred district lines that diminish Black voters’ ability to elect candidates of their choice at all levels of government,” the lawsuit’s authors wrote.
As advocates and North Carolinians push back, state Democrats are hoping to get The Redistricting Transparency Act passed to curb another incompetent and secretive round of redistricting.
“In October, the Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly enacted egregiously gerrymandered congressional and General Assembly maps that effectively silenced the voice of many North Carolina voters. And they drew these maps behind closed doors with minimal public input,” Ross told WRAL.
“Were national political committees like the NRCC (the National Republican Congressional Committee) involved in drafting our state’s map? The people of North Carolina deserve to know.”
Under the proposed bill, state lawmakers would be required to hold public hearings during the entire redistricting process, including before and after new congressional districts are formally proposed. According to WRAL, the bill also requires the state to post online all videos of public meetings, written comments pertaining to redistricting, and every iteration of proposed congressional maps.