The first step to retake control of our state

We've spent enough time feeling sorry for ourselves, our state and our country. Now it's time to make a plan and work the plan! We have a short time to get our parties out of dreamland and back into realty. Our neighbors in the 80 rural counties of North Carolina have been disinfranchised by the politicians of both parties for too long. To rectify the conditions, Our first step should be to modify our constution so that the state senate is comprised of 100 senators representing our 100 counties. Rural counties will never have any representation as long as both houses are elected based upon population! Current conditions virtually guarantee taxation without representation it must be corrected! Do you agree?

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Comments

No, I don't agree.

There's nothing magical about counties. All we need to do is put an end to gerrymandering and representation would be just fine.

Gerrymandering and counties

Would not electing a state senator by county (1 per county) reduce if not eliminate gerrymandering?

JPL

One person, one vote

The US Supreme Court in a series of decisions in the early 1960s affirmed the basis of one person, one vote and ruled all state wide legislative elections had to be on a basis of population, not by county. So trying to elect a state senate with one or two representatives per county is unconstitutional Other decisions expanded on that and included requirements that population figures be updated with each census. The US Senate is exempt from that because the US constitution specifies how those seats are allotted, two per state.

Trees & land don't vote

Why in the world should Tyrell County, with a total population of 4,141 people, have equal representation in the state senate to Mecklenberg County, population 967,971?

In fact, Tyrell Couny is already over represented because it has a state prison with 620 inmates (15% of the total county population) , most of whom are not from Tyrell County. The same is true for Hertford County, which has a 1,400 person federal facility for prisoners from DC, and Granville, with 5,000 prisoners in Butner. Most of the state's 56 prisons with 38,000 inmates are in rural counties, artifically inflating their populations (and representation) with residents from other areas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_Carolina_state_prisons

Trees and land

Using this argument, the national senate should also be elected based upon population rather than 2 per state?

JPL

Yes

One person, one vote. That's fair.

It would be unconstitutional

The US constitution, Section 3 clause 1 and the 17th amendment specify that each state gets two senators. Unless you can get the constitution amended, that cannot be changed. And I don't think you could ever get the necessary votes to get that amendment passed since the current set up gives small states a lot of power they would lose. They are not going to voluntarily give that up and without the smaller states, you cannot get the 2/3 votes of each house of congress or of the states to pass an amendment. The same with trying to change the electoral college. The electoral college doesn't give small states quite as much of an advantage as the senate rule does, but it does grant a little extra power.

Counties are antique divisions

Nothing about counties gives them the kind of special standing implied by assigning each one a senator.
One of my ancestors played a key role in creating Columbus County, where I grew up. Columbus was carved out of Bladen and Brunswick after, as historian Ben Justesen put it, "citizens complained about the distances" by horse-drawn conveyance "to their respective courthouses."
Other citizens wanted their own political power domain, partly for reasons of economic development, which apparently came to nothing.
It escapes me how any of the the then compelling logic makes sense to our era.
Columbus was at the tail end of what was historically a long cascade of county divisions, each rationalized by the various concerns of its time and place.
Organizing one chamber of our state legislature around the idea that some sweepingly sound democratic logic has arisen that was not present at the countys' creation strikes me as a misguided exercise in nostalgia which would, as argued above, contribute nothing to the cause of better representation.

Counties are antique divisions

At the national level should we elect our senators based upon population rather than 2 per state. Would that give the most populous state most of the control of our government?

JPL

Antique Counties?

What does this mean to county commissioners, county sheriffs, county school boards, etc. Should they be eliminated as they have no special standing?

JPL

Those are some good questions

In theory, those county authorities do serve a major purpose. Even in high-population counties, there's a lot of unincorporated land with no other municipal entity watching over things. And the more rural you get, the more those county commissions are needed. Same goes for law enforcement in the form of the Sheriff's department. And as to the county school boards, without them, disbursing state funding would be left up to the General Assembly, and god only knows how screwed up that would be.

But the point that many are trying to make here is that representative government is important. When we say, "One person, one vote," a big part of that is making sure my vote is equal to yours. If we went to 100 counties, 100 county Senators, the votes from individuals in rural counties would have 15-20 times the "determinative" power than a vote from say, Mecklenburg County. That's the opposite of the "tyranny of the majority."

As far as rural counties not having powers or benefits, that could be easily debatable. Republicans owe their supermajority to rural voters, and many of the laws they've passed have been to keep those rural voters satisfied. That's power. As to the benefits, we're about to see that happen right now. The new tax laws are going into effect, broadening the scope of the state's sales tax to cover all sorts of services, like auto repairs and such. Normally sales taxes (mostly) end up in the county where they were gathered, but these new categories are different. Based on population, those monies are going to the least populated counties. And not one penny is going back to the high-population counties, like Wake, Durham, Mecklenburg, Guilford, or my own county (Alamance). That's right, we're paying the taxes, but the money is going elsewhere. That's nothing short of wealth redistribution, something the GOP claims they are against. And if 85 of the Senators hailed from strictly rural counties, I can't imagine what other stuff they would try to pull.

Those are some good questions

We seem to be forgetting the State House of Representatives whom I believe are elected based upon populatioon?

JPL

Sounds like another GOP power grab.

What better way to ensure a GOP majority than to make 4000 conservative voters equal 400,000 progressives. It is a false equivalency to cite the federal Senate. As has been stated up thread, states do not work the same as the nation as a whole.

Until you post details as to why you think rural counties are being left out in the cold, and those details are expressed with some sort of democratic values as their foundation, your proposal seems suspicious.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Wealth redistribution & gerrymandering

Ok, I willl admit that I am a Democrat. Gerrymandering is only an action taken by politicians who care more for themselves and their party then they do the citizens of North Carolina. You can find a fairly good example of gerrymandering in Orange County (the Bastian of liberal thinking). All of the county commissioners in Orange County are located in Chapel Hill. Only one has been elected from the northern part of the county. This would seem to me that those beneficial acts for Chapel Hill greatly exceed those of potential benefit to the remainder of the county. But then again maybe I'm wrong! Is this gerrymandering?
A short comment on wealth redistribution. If I remember correctly that is, the Democratic Party has always supported wealth redistribution as examples, some of our fellow states in the South who receive considerably more from the federal government that is paid out to the federal government. Most of the larger more wealthy states find that they pay out more to the federal government then they receive in benefits. I get the impression that many of the respondents whom I thought would be Democrats are evidently opposed to wealth redistribution in North Carolina to the poorer counties.

JPL

We're pretty much all Democrats, Pat

And some of us are involved in local government. I'm Chairman of our Planning Board, and hopefully will be an Alderman in the near future. Our town is not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but we still provide services to our residents. And about 20% of them are living at poverty level. Which could be worse, I realize. But when those folks pay taxes on getting their beat up cars fixed, and that money goes somewhere else instead of back into their community, yes, I have a problem with that.

I do believe the wealthy should pay more in (income) taxes, and that money should go where it's needed the most. But Republicans are slashing income taxes, mostly benefiting the wealthy, and making up for that with more regressive sales taxes. They're not "taking from the rich and giving to the poor" with this new tax formula, they're shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to those who are struggling, in both rural and urban counties. And it's wrong.