From an editorial Tuesday in the Fayetteville Observer:
In district after district, from Congress to the General Assembly, many North Carolina voters will have little choice this fall. With districts carved out to be noncompetitive, incumbents face few challenges. The system doesnt ensure the integrity of the democratic process, though it does perpetuate the party in power.
North Carolina is hardly the only place where gerrymandering is a problem. Florida voters were so fed up with it that they used their power of ballot amendments, something North Carolina voters dont have, to include a Fair Districts measure in the state constitution in 2010. On Thursday, a judge ruled that the Florida Legislature had ignored this law in creating the states congressional map.
Theres an ongoing court challenge to the validity of North Carolinas district maps as well. A bill proposed last year could have embraced fairness for future redistricting. Rep. Paul Stam, a Wake County Republican, spearheaded the Nonpartisan Redistricting Process Bill, along with a group of sponsors from both sides of the aisle. The measure passed the House on a first reading, but was then sent to committee where it seems to have died.
Given the mess being created by the court ruling in Florida, next years legislative session would be a good time for lawmakers to make another attempt at bipartisan and fair districting reforms. Better it come from them soon than the courts later.
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