NC gerrymandering

Republican supporter of non-partisan redistricting gets double-bunked

But Jon Hardister has a fix for that, says he will move to Whitsett:

State Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Greensboro) plans on moving to eastern Guilford County to avoid having to run against a GOP colleague under the Republican-led redistricting proposal legislators are poised to adopt.

In the new plan being finalized this week, Hardister and state Rep. John Faircloth (R-High Point) both live in Guilford County’s proposed state House of Representatives’ District 61. Faircloth represents the current District 61 and plans to run for re-election in 2018.

I'm tempted to act all Nostradamus-like because this is almost exactly what I warned Republicans about in this Op-Ed column, but I don't want to put the kibosh on Bill Cook leaving, so I'll leave the bragging for later. As far as Jon is concerned, if there's going to be a Republican taking over this new District, then I'm glad it's going to be him.

New NC Senate map double-bunks 8 incumbents

And seven of those are Republicans:

Republicans John Alexander and Chad Barefoot are both in Senate 18, which covers northern Wake County and all of Franklin County. Barefoot on Sunday announced he would not seek re-election.

Republicans Deanna Ballard and Shirley Randleman will both be running in Senate 45, which covers Wilkes, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties and part of Surry County.

Republicans Joyce Krawiec and Dan Barrett will run in Senate 31, which covers part of Forsyth County and all of Davie County.

Republican Bill Cook and Democrat Erica Smith-Ingram will both be running in Senate 3, which covers Vance, Warren, Northampton, Bertie, Martin and Beaufort counties.

It will be interesting to see which Republicans are found to run in the four (new) Districts with no current incumbents. Chances are they've already been found, before the lines were even drawn. Also: Bill Cook! That's a race that really needs to be won, and not just to protect Erica's seat. I was going to make some comment about the "winds of change," but the coffee really hasn't kicked in yet, so my humor is not quite as sharp as it needs to be for that reference.

The NC GOP's intentional deception exposed by Supreme Court

Getting your lies tangled up will eventually bite you in the ass:

The State’s contrary story—that politics alone drove decisionmaking—came into the trial mostly through Hofeller’s testimony. Hofeller explained that Rucho and Lewis instructed him, first and
foremost, to make the map as a whole “more favorable to Republican candidates.”

The District Court, however, disbelieved Hofeller’s asserted indifference to the new district’s racial composition. The court recalled Hofeller’s contrary deposition testimony—his statement (repeated in only slightly different words in his expert report) that Rucho and Lewis “decided” to shift African-American voters into District 12 “in order to” ensure preclearance under §5. See 159 F. Supp. 3d, at 619–620; App. 558. And the court explained that even at trial, Hofeller had given testimony that undermined his “blame it on politics” claim.

Before you ask, I don't know. I've only read part of this decision, which upholds the lower court decision, so it appears the maps will need to be redrawn. Or the already re-drawn maps will now be used. Better minds than mine (easily found) need to be mined for an assessment. I'll try to follow-up with more info, but just to be clear: This decision only affects Congressional Districts, not Legislative. Districts 1 and 12, to be exact, but that also means surrounding Districts will be changed as well. Progress.

Please support HB200, non-partisan redistricting Commission

It may be the only way to save our democracy:

No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring a political party, incumbent legislator, or member of Congress, or other person or group, or for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group. In establishing districts, no use shall be made of any of the addresses or geographic locations of incumbents.

Except to the extent required by the North Carolina and United States Constitutions, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and applicable court decisions, no use shall be made of:

(1) Political affiliations of registered voters.
(2) Previous election results.
(3) Demographic information, other than population head counts."

At our Alamance County Democratic Party Convention yesterday, Pete Glidewell (recent Congressional candidate in NC's 6th District) made an eloquent and impassioned argument on the dangers of partisan gerrymandering. This is not a "new" problem by any stretch of the imagination, we've been living with the consequences of blatant partisan gerrymandering since the 2012 Election. And while there have been some promising developments on the legal front, we're over halfway to the next round of redistricting following the 2020 Election, and we need to fix this thing if we can. Here are some stats Pete provided to drive that home:

Gameplan 2017: A roadmap for change

Four steps to a better North Carolina:

While not every district in the state must be redrawn, almost every district near a major city will be. And despite the fact that the same folks who drew the maps last time will be allowed to draw the maps this time, the result will almost certainly be a significant increase in the number of competitive seats. The only question is whether we can get folks to go vote in a special election.

So here’s the opportunity: Use the 2017 special election to break the supermajority in at least one of two chambers. If we can do that, we will be able to sustain Gov. Cooper’s vetoes, and that will completely change the political landscape by putting a crucial check on the absolute power currently held by the GOP.

Bolding mine. In order to override a Governor's Veto, both houses must succeed in doing so. Making our task not nearly as difficult as some may be thinking. But take it from somebody who just ran a campaign in an odd year (2015), voter turnout is a huge nut to crack. In my election, only about 11% of the population took part, and the average age was ancient. Most of those folks had voted for the same people numerous times, and any sort of change was viewed as reckless. So making sure that people are aware of the 2017 Election, and how important it is, will be job one:

Using Legislative "Privilege" to obscure racial gerrymandering

trudymandering.jpg

Trudy Wade & Company defy judges order:

Webster gave the legislators 30 days to create a list of documents they want to keep private — and to describe the documents and explain why they should be withheld. He said he would look at the privilege log privately, then decide whether to make legislators comply with the subpoenas.

But creating such a list — even for a judge’s eyes only — would create a “chilling effect” on confidential communication between lawmakers and staff members, attorneys for the legislators said in Thursday’s filing.

If those communications had any impact on how legislation would be written or implemented, it should not be confidential. It's called "public policy" for a reason. And since this particular piece of legislation deals directly with the voting process, the need for transparency is doubled. And it's the height of arrogance the GOP thinks this is a sound argument:

Wake County will use 2011 Commissioner and School Board maps

Chalk another one up for the good guys:

The new plans featured seven local districts and two regional districts that resemble a doughnut-shaped district ringing the rural areas of the county and a central blob centered on Raleigh. Many familiar with the maps and Wake County voting patterns said the plan would tilt control of both boards back toward the GOP.

"This is a victory for basic fairness," said Perry Woods, one of the individual plaintiffs who, along with the Raleigh Wake Citizens Association, brought the case that challenged the legislatively drawn districts. "Changing the rules in the middle of the game when you're losing is not the American way."

Good job, Perry. Also, kudos on taking back the word "American." ;)

The threat gerrymandering poses to the NC Constitution

Cause & effect are too obvious to ignore:

Over in the Senate there’s a more devious and dangerous proposed amendment to the state constitution, with roots in the misleadingly-named “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” (that passed the Senate last year but didn’t get a vote in the House) to cap the state income tax rate at 5.5 percent. Article V of the state constitution currently sets a 10 percent ceiling.

Significantly, the four sponsors of this unnecessary plan, face no consequence or accountability. The lead sponsor, Sen. Robert Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, isn’t seeking re-election. The three other sponsors, Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick; Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph; and Louis Pate, R-Wayne, face no opposition in the fall campaign. They are utterly without accountability to a single voter in their districts – and the state – for their actions.

It's times like this that I look back on our efforts to encourage candidates to file with a feeling of abject failure. While the list exceeded our expectations, several critical (potential) races were left by the wayside. While I'm wallowing in self-pity, it's only fitting that I bring you the news (if you didn't already know) that Elon Law Professor Eric Fink failed to amass enough (qualified) signatures to challenge Phil Berger in November's General Election for the NC Senate. It was a damned fine effort, and I hope Eric takes another shot two years from now. But we really need to make sure the most powerful Republicans have opponents, regardless of the demographics. Or we risk allowing their hubris to destroy our state.

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