Viewpoint

The real answer on redistricting

From an editorial Thursday in the Fayetteville Observer:

It’s been more than four years and two state elections since the latest North Carolina voting districts were created.

But they are still under a cloud of legal challenges that have already found their way to the U.S. Supreme Court once and probably will land there again.

The question is not whether the Republican majority in the General Assembly gerrymandered the districts to gain political advantage. Of course they did, and that’s legal and constitutional. What’s at issue here is whether legislative mapmakers went beyond politics and used race to design districts that also give them an advantage – which is neither legal nor constitutional.

The state Supreme Court held its second review of the case on Monday.

The justices didn’t say how quickly they would rule. We hope a decision will come before campaigning begins in earnest for 2016 state and federal elections.

We’d also like to see this as a final chapter in a saga that plays out almost like clockwork after every decade’s exercise in redistricting.

It’s a frustrating, time-and-money-wasting ritual that undermines voters’ confidence in their electoral system.

It’s time to stop this endless cycle of protests, lawsuits, special legislative sessions and delayed elections. Let’s turn redistricting over to an impartial panel and make the voter, not political power, the most important principle.

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