ELECTIONS UNDERSCORE REDISTRICTING FLAWS
ROCKY MOUNT TELEGRAM
Thursday, November 20, 2014
A little more than wo weeks after the midterm elections, it pays to revisit the results to see how well legislative races represented the diversity of North Carolina.
Numbers compiled by the N.C. Center for Voter Education make a shaky case for effective representation.
Legislative districts historically have been drawn in ways that favor the party in charge of the N.C. General Assembly. In 2014, that’s the Republican Party, but in the decades prior to 2010, Democrats held that power just as fiercely, if not more so.
To illustrate the impact of redistricting along partisan lines, consider how little real competition there was for legislative seats this year.
Sixty N.C. House seats – one-half of the 120 seats in the House – had no opposition on Election Day. There was only one candidate on the ballot in those districts.
Of the other 60 districts that presented a choice to voters, 37 of the races were decided by 15 percentage points or more. That kind of landslide doesn’t say much for the level of competition offered by the opposing party.
Of the 50 districts represented in the N.C. Senate, 20 had only one candidate on the ballot. Another 20 candidates won by 15 percentage points or more.
As we mentioned before, Democrats were just as guilty of stacking the maps in their favor as Republicans have been, but neither redistricting plan offers much hope for a spirited political process in Raleigh. So long as partisan lawmakers control the redistricting process, the N.C. General Assembly is likely to stay in the hands of one dominant party or the other.
North Carolina needs a better system to make sure more of its voices are better represented. The 2014 election results simply underscore that point once again.