Redistricting reform advocates advance Iowa-like proposal
The legislation is based on a model from Iowa. Here are excerpts from a fact sheet provided by the Coalition:
Why Redistricting in Iowa works:
No political influence on redistricting process – Plans are drawn by a non partisan staff submitted to legislature for an up or down vote
Accountability –“Redistricting principles” guide the process; political affiliation, previous election results, or the addresses of incumbents cannot be used.
No gerrymandering – Redistricting plans are criteria-driven based on clear, measurable criteria including: population equality, contiguity, unity of counties and cities, compactness
No delays – Redistricting is on a set schedule.
- The first plan is submitted to the Legislature by April 1st.
- Public hearings are held and then lawmakers have three days to bring the plan forward for a vote
- If lawmakers reject plan- staff has 35 days to bring forward a second plan
Public Input – After the first plan is submitted, a series of public hearings held in every region of the state with a report compiled and presented to the legislature
Saves money – No legislative session has ever been lengthened, no primary election schedule delayed or lawsuit filed in Iowa due to a redistricting plan submitted by its non partisan legislative staff
Why Redistricting in North Carolina does not work:
Politics influences the process – Majority party controls the process. Public perception is that lines are drawn more for the self interest of a political party than for creating fair, competitive districts.
Lack of transparency – Partisan-driven plans are difficult to follow. Public hearings are held before plans are drawn rather than after.
Gerrymandering – Without a criteria-driven only process, some districts are open to question regarding true contiguity and compactness
Delays – Redistricting is often one of the last issues decided within a legislative session. Support for the plan itself can be used as a bargaining chip in the partisan legislative process—creating delays in decisions on other legislative bills.
Expense – North Carolina is one of the nation’s leaders in lawsuits filed over redistricting plans. Legislative sessions have been lengthened and or special sessions have been necessary and primary elections have been delayed because of legal challenges to redistricting plans.
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