Advocates for reform of the way North Carolina draws its congressional and legislative election maps are taking their arguments to audiences across North Carolina. Redistricting reformers have conducted public meetings recently in Greensboro, Fayetteville, and Charlotte, with other events scheduled in the weeks ahead. Jane Pinsky, executive director of the N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, discussed redistricting issues with Mitch Kokai for Carolina Journal Radio. You can read a transcript of the entire interview here, but here’s a taste.
Kokai: Now, redistricting is inherently a political process. Politics is going to play a role. But why do you think this particular system takes politics as much out as it can be [taken]?
Pinsky: It does it because, quite literally, we take our staff — and in Iowa they use a geographer, a demographer, and an attorney — they literally sequester them in an office building in downtown Des Moines, and no one knows where they are. And they draw the maps by using computers to put together blocks of population as compactly as possible. They don’t draw districts to give a political advantage to one party or the other or to one person or the other. And the gentleman who was the geographer in Iowa the last time said quite literally he had no idea what districts current members sat in.
And as a result, of the 150 members of the Iowa General Assembly, 37 of them were double-bunked. That means that two current members were in the same district. And yet all of those people voted for the maps because they believed they were done fairly. So we think this, as much as possible, takes politics out of the process. Elections are political, so it’s never going to be completely apolitical, but we think this does a good job of it.
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