Corbin among bipartisan supporters of bill to end gerrymandering in North Carolina

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Rep. Kevin Corbin (R-Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon) is among a bipartisan majority of NC House members supporting a bill to establish nonpartisan redistricting for North Carolina.

Instead of lawmakers crafting congressional and legislative voting districts for partisan advantage, House Bill 69  would have an 11-member citizens commission draw maps free from partisan politics, with robust public input and full transparency. The districts would then be presented to the legislature for an up or down vote. The bill would take effect for the next redistricting cycle in 2021.

“Common-sense redistricting reform will give North Carolina citizens confidence in the integrity of our elections and our government,” Rep. Corbin said. “This is a plan that will put voters ahead of politicians.”

Bob Phillips, executive director of the nonpartisan good-government group Common Cause NC, praised Rep. Corbin for his support of the bill.

“We applaud Rep. Corbin for his support of nonpartisan redistricting reform and we thank him for his leadership on this issue,” Phillips said. “House Bill 69 is a big step forward in protecting the right of all voters to have a voice in choosing their representatives.”

Under North Carolina’s longstanding system, the party that controls the legislature also controls redistricting. For decades, voting maps have been created by politicians behind closed doors with the aim of heavily favoring their own party. The result has been gerrymandered voting districts that deprive voters of a voice in their elections. House Bill 69 would create a new redistricting process that puts voters ahead of partisan politics.

Sixty-seven members of the N.C. House have signed on as sponsors of House Bill 69. That’s a majority of the N.C. House and a record number of co-sponsors for an anti-gerrymandering bill in North Carolina’s history.

A solid majority of North Carolina voters support impartial redistricting, as shown by a survey conducted in 2018 by Public Policy Polling. That poll found 59 percent of voters in favor of making the map-drawing process nonpartisan, with just 15 percent opposed to reform. More than 300 locally elected leaders from 140 towns and cities across North Carolina have signed a petition calling on the legislature to enact nonpartisan redistricting. And more than 100 North Carolina business leaders have joined the call for an end to gerrymandering.

 

Fact sheet – House Bill 69

• An 11-person commission will be made up of voters nominated by legislative leaders.

• The commission will have four members from each of both major parties as well as three voters not affiliated with either major party. The four legislative leaders responsible for appointing the commissioners shall have the goal of representing the state’s racial, ethnic, geographic and gender diversity.

• The commission will hire staff to assist them, hold public hearings both before and after the drawing of the maps, and create the maps in a transparent public process.

• The commission is to seek public input, by holding public hearings and permitting the submission of proposed maps online and by mail.

• The commission is tasked with drawing districts that will be compact, contiguous, and abide by state and federal law. No use shall be made of political factors, including voter registration, previous election results, or incumbents’ addresses, except where needed to comply with state and federal law.

• Once the commission completes and approves a redistricting plan, the plan will be sent to the N.C. General Assembly, which will vote on the maps without altering them.

• The process will outline a schedule to provide the General Assembly with proposed maps as quickly as possible.

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