Raleigh, N.C. — Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot are leading an effort to end gerrymandering in North Carolina and put a nonpartisan panel in charge of drawing new congressional and legislative districts every 10 years.
North Carolinians to End Gerrymandering Now wants to build a coalition of support starting at the local level, the former mayors said Thursday.
"Local elected officials have a good sense of what their constituents want," said Meeker, a Democrat. "By encouraging the North Carolina General Assembly to set up a nonpartisan redistricting system, they will be a voice for the thousands of North Carolinians who want this change.”
Nonpartisan redistricting will be good for both the state and both political parties, said Vinroot, a Republican.
"Ending gerrymandering will ensure that no party out of power is marginalized without a voice," he said. "Taking the politics out of the process will be an insurance policy for both parties."
Meeker said the change would increase public confidence in government.
"North Carolina can create a 21st century redistricting process that creates fair districts that are compact and competitive," he said.
Nearly half of the 170 seats in the General Assembly are already set for next year because the legislative districts were drawn to favor one party, so there is no challenger in the November general election.
Several former lawmakers and groups such as the NAACP have pending lawsuits against the voting maps drawn by the Republican-led legislature in 2011. They allege the districts leave minority voters at a disadvantage and split too many counties and precincts.