More than half of the House backs redistricting changes

Posted April 17, 2013

Voting map

— More than half of the sitting members of the state House have co-sponsored a measure that would put the job of redrawing legislative and congressional districts into the hands of nonpartisan professional staff.

The bill is modeled on a process used in Iowa and is designed to remove at least some of the partisan bickering. District lines drawn by lawmakers in 2011 are still making their way through a lengthy, complex and costly legal battle. 

"This is about the voters; it shouldn't be about the politicians," said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.

One of the long-standing arguments for reform is that the current process allows politicians to pick and choose their electorate, assuring that incumbents stay in office and a vast majority of the seats in the legislature are "safe" districts for either Republicans or Democrats. 

Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, is one of the primary sponsors of the measure and has been putting forward similar legislation since 1989. 

"One of the principles of justice is that no person should be judge in his own cause," Stam said.

Legislative districts are redrawn every 10 years after the U.S. Census measures the state's population. Republicans were in charge of that process for the first time in more than century two years ago, and some may be loathe to surrender the power.

"If it was something we were supportive of before, just because we're now in the majority, we shouldn't be switching our position," said Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson. "If it was good government then, it's good government now."

A similar bill passed the 120-member House two years ago with 88 votes. Stam said he is certain the measure will clear the House again, but its fate is uncertain in the state Senate.


This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • goldenosprey Apr 18, 11:16 a.m.

    Why does the left oppose fair elections?"

    Why does the right want to suppress the vote and restrict early voting?

    Have you even seen the current maps used by the analysts who set up the crazy districts we have?

    Gerrymandering is undemocratic no matter which party does it.

    Which is why I'll be surprised if this bill sees the light of day.

  • 68_dodge_polara Apr 18, 10:12 a.m.

    Why does the left oppose fair elections?

  • Danny22 Apr 18, 9:28 a.m.

    For 100 yrs, it was okay for the dems to set up their districts for their benefit. The republicans won control using the democratic gerrymandering. Why should we let the democrats gerrymander the districts again. Nope, "elections have consequences,"--obama.

  • SouthernPackerFan Apr 18, 8:15 a.m.

    District lines drawn by lawmakers in 2011 are still making their way through a lengthy, complex and costly legal battle!

    as a tax payer this is all you should be concerned with, because no matter what party you favor, we all are paying for this!

  • jackjones2nc Apr 18, 6:52 a.m.

    "This is about the voters; it shouldn't be about the politicians," said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake.

  • Tax Man Apr 17, 7:46 p.m.

    How about having SAS just do a computer analysis that puts all the districts in a 50/50 split for voter registration? Make the lines consistent with city/county borders but a completely equal mix of registered voters in each district. Most elections should be statewide and only those offices within the actual districts should be voted on locally. Fair is fair!

  • rroadrunner99 Apr 17, 6:30 p.m.

    If you want non-partisan to draw the voting districts, then you'd better send overseas to a country that has never heard of North Carolina nor any person that lives here. Maybe even somebody that can't even speak our language. We ALL have seen that there are no non partisan people in office in Raleigh, nor on their staff either.

  • Radioactive Ted Apr 17, 6:15 p.m.

    Great idea, but there is no such thing as 'nonpartisan' in this day and age. Remember, the Wake County School Board is 'nonpartisan'. The Republicans will choose their members of the board. The Democrats will choose their members of the board. Libertarians (or Green or whoever) will lose out. Whoever controls the GA will control the board and their decisions.

  • Riddickfield Apr 17, 5:12 p.m.

    If this goes through, it will likely mean an end to the I-85 district. Dems won't like that.

  • 68_dodge_polara Apr 17, 4:34 p.m.

    no matter what good they do...