Organizer: Fair Districts Forum Warsaw
Fair Districts NC and the NC Council of Churches are organizing this community forum to inform voters on what gerrymandering is and why we must end this corrupt practice now, before the next redistricting (right after the 2020 Census). President Ronald Reagan said it best when he called for "an end to the un-American and anti-democratic practice of gerrymandering....It isn't just the district lines that [are] bent out of shape, it's the American values of fair play and decency and it's time we stopped....It's time to give the votes back to the people." This forum will explain how gerrymandering works and, more importantly, how it is undermining our democracy, how we can end it, and what you the voter can do about it. Please join us for a stimulating, nonpartisan, and eye-opening discussion on one of the most critical issues facing our state.
Location: Warsaw Wellness and Recreation Center, 210 West Hill Street, Warsaw, NC
How do you know when you've seen a gerrymandered district? Maybe it looks like a duck or a snake, or a pair of earmuffs. Or maybe there's no obvious sign that the mapmakers played games with the contours in order to ensure a particular electoral outcome inside those boundaries.
The last contests using the current set of congressional maps are a year away. After that, the results of the 2020 census will be used for the redistricting of the entire country — assuring a fresh burst of gerrymandering by politicians with the power to draw maps designed for keeping themselves in power. (The North Carolina districts mentioned below are very likely to get altered before the next election, however, to settle a lawsuit alleging the current map favors Republicans so much as to violate the state Constitution's "fair elections" clause.)
We asked half a dozen people who have studied the way American political maps are drawn to reveal their best examples of the most flagrant current gerrymandering. Of course there are plenty of ways to approach that task. In some cases, the really odd shapes make it easier. In others, experts need to dive deep into demographic data to discover the most egregious examples of packing and cracking.
Democratic groups are challenging the constitutionality of new state laws written by Republicans to curb early voting in two of the biggest battleground states of 2020.
The Texas Democratic Party and the national Democratic campaign committees filed a federal lawsuit this week alleging a law curbing the use of temporary or mobile early voting sites is unconstitutional. Also this week, those same national committees joined the North Carolina Democratic Party in suing to restore early voting in the state on the Saturday before Election Day.
Turnout will be crucial to the Democrats' attempts to win North Carolina's 15 electoral votes for the first time since 2008 and especially to carry Texas, now the second biggest prize with 38 electoral votes, for the first time since 1976. The party is also expected to make an intense run at GOP Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina and a longer-shot quest to unseat GOP Sen. John Cornyn in Texas.
When the Supreme Court decided in June that the issue of gerrymandering was beyond the authority of the federal courts to decide, it invited state courts to step into the void.
On Monday, judges in North Carolina did just that, offering a split verdict: The judges approved the maps drawn for the state legislative districts but blocked the boundaries drawn for congressional districts.
The three-judge panel ruled that it was likely that the plaintiffs would ultimately succeed in proving that the U.S. House districts are "extreme partisan gerrymanders" in violation of the state constitution.
The judges acknowledged that redrawing congressional maps at such a late date could disrupt and even delay next year's congressional elections. "These consequences pale in comparison to voters of our state proceeding to the polls to vote, yet again, in congressional elections administered pursuant to maps drawn in violation of the North Carolina constitution."