Municipal leaders across N.C. support effort to end gerrymandering
Almost 170 municipal elected officials from across North Carolina have added their names to North Carolinians to End Gerrymandering Now, an effort spearheaded by former mayors Richard Vinroot of Charlotte and Charles Meeker of Raleigh.
In all, 168 municipal leaders representing 109 different municipalities so far have joined Vinroot and Meeker to encourage lawmakers in the General Assembly to enact a nonpartisan redistricting process.
In addition to the local officials supporting redistricting reform, 63 members of the N.C. House have sponsored House Bill 92 – a proposal that would take the power of drawing congressional and legislative voting maps out of the hands of partisan lawmakers and give it to nonpartisan legislative staff, beginning with the next round of redistricting in 2021.
“We are so pleased to see this effort we started grow to almost 170 leaders from both parties across the state,” said former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot. “This groundswell of support highlights how important this issue is to a wide range of communities and how eager our fellow municipal leaders are to see a redistricting system that is fair to voters, not just politicians.”
“This growing list of leaders represents all corners of North Carolina from our biggest cities to our smallest towns,” former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said. “I am honored to be a part of this growing movement to finally ensure that every vote is equal and every voter has a voice on Election Day.”
North Carolina’s current redistricting process ensures that whichever party is in control of the legislature can draw new districts to favor their party, which reduces competition and leads to greater political polarization. Both major parties in the state have been guilty of gerrymandering and since 1992 an average of 43 percent of legislative races have had only one candidate on the ballot.
“The municipal leaders on this list reflect the diversity of North Carolina and we’re excited to see them all united to take the politics out of redistricting,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of the nonpartisan Common Cause North Carolina. “They have a unique understanding of how gerrymandering divides communities and stifles competition at the ballot box, robbing too many voters of any real voice in our democracy.”
While House Bill 92, the redistricting reform measure, enjoys support from a majority of N.C. House members, it has yet to be heard in the General Assembly.