League of Women Voters Shares New Redistricting Study
By DEBBIE SNOWD0N
CHARLOTTE, NC – Monday, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina informed that they will present key findings from its new study of redistricting options for North Carolina at a press conference today. The study identifies five principles that together define “reasonable redistricting reform:”
1. Maintain a role for the legislature in the process, such as naming commissioners.
2. Include citizens and/or impartial experts as commission members.
3. Set strict rules for the commission's work that 1) rule out partisan data and objectives and 2) use voting rules that force consensus.
4. Provide for extensive citizen participation and transparency.
5. Make the maps final on the commission's vote, without further action by the legislature.
A redistricting commission designed using these principles can attract the bipartisan support needed to become law and end extreme gerrymanders in our state.
The five principles were identified by a League study team that analyzed 50 redistricting bills introduced last year in 15 states—mostly in the South—and the U.S. Congress. The team also examined all 29 redistricting commissions already on the books across the country.
The League’s key finding is that redistricting reform that preserves a role for the State Legislature but also adheres to the other four principles above can give our voters a greater voice in the process and prevent extreme partisan map-making. The League’s “Legislator’s Guide to Reasonable Redistricting Reform” clarifies how to translate these principles into practice for a soundly designed commission. The guide sets out 12 questions that any commission design must answer and provides information on how legislators in other states have dealt with each of them.
The League is not recommending a specific model. Instead, we are calling on citizens, legislators, and civic organizations to collaborate in designing a “reasonable redistricting” model that works for North Carolina.
The League’s new findings will be presented by the study’s main author, Dr. Jennifer Bremer, who chairs the LWVNC’s Fair Elections Action Team. Light refreshments will be served.