The gerrymandering of political districts has made the news once again. So that leaves us with the question, will the districts in North Carolina ever be made to where people’s voices matter?
Due to the extent and partisanship of gerrymandering, there has been a lawsuit brought against North Carolina by a group affiliated with the former U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder. According to the Democracy Docket, “North Carolina has been considered one of the most gerrymandered states in the country” since the 1990s. The controversial lines for the congressional districts were made so that there would be an increase in the districts that favor the Republican Party. According to Will Adler, an expert on gerrymandering at the Center for Democracy and Technology think tank, “ten years ago, North Carolina’s legislature drew an extremely gerrymandered congressional map. It was so gerrymandered that they were ordered to redraw it.” The outcome of this lawsuit is certain to demand for the same action.
The districts that Democrats have a majority center around Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte. Larger cities tend to have more democratically aligned voters, while smaller cities and more rural areas tend to align more with republican beliefs. According to Will Doran with the News Observer, “the lawsuit challenges only the congressional map. It’s framed as a continuation of sorts of a successful 2019 partisan gerrymandering lawsuit, which forced GOP lawmakers to draw new lines for the 2020 elections.” These new lines drawn by Republican leaders give them a majority in the North Carolina legislature and allow for Republican lawmakers to more likely be elected to the United States Congress more likely. Despite the evidence from these maps, Republican leaders have said that they did not rely on political data to draw the map. The lawsuit was filed in the Wake County Superior Court and states that “rather than adhere to this Court’s admonition that extreme partisan gerrymanders unconstitutionally deprive millions of North Carolinians of fundamental rights, legislative defendants enacted another extreme and brazen partisan gerrymander.” Due to the extreme gerrymandering of political districts, many people are stripped of their voice in politics.
Many constituents feel their voices are not being heard in local, state, or federal elections or by their representatives. These unfairly drawn districts negatively impact political representation and divide communities. As stated by the Democracy Docket, “On a more granular level, the Republican gerrymander of North Carolina split apart communities and made it more difficult for them to advocate for themselves.” Will Doran points out how “the North Carolina NAACP, represented by the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice, argued that no matter how the maps ended up, they would inherently fail to protect the rights of Black voters as demanded by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.” Historically, most African American voters have consistently voted along the lines of the Democratic Party’s beliefs. These party lines promote indirect racial discrimination. With the extreme gerrymandering of these districts, the voices of people who vote along the lines of the democratic party are not accurately represented.
After so many people spent years fighting for the right to vote, people’s voices, thoughts, and beliefs are still being oppressed by politicians and the way their district lines are drawn.