Local News

You Can Help Design North Carolina's Political Future

Posted July 17, 2001

— Thanks to a population surge in the 2000 Census, the Tar Heel state will pick up an additional seat in Congress. The challenge for state lawmakers is to decide where to put the new 13th district, but you can help them decide.

North Carolina's new congressional district is expected to land in the Triangle, where the 2000 Census found an explosion in population. Whether the 13th district favors Democrats or Republican will depend on a great deal on raw politics.

"With the Democrats and their majorities in both Houses, it's a little difficult for us to have a say, but we've introduced plans and we hope they will take a good look at them and consider them," says Bill Peasley of the North Carolina Republican Party.

"I think partisanship will play a role; then there are some real questions about whether it's better to keep counties intact or municipalities intact," says Sen. Brad Miller (D-Raleigh) who chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee.

Thanks to Hi-Tech, the public can weigh in on how the boundary lines should be drawn. Computer terminals set up for public use allow you to view the draft maps and offer your own ideas.

"A person can interactively build a district. You can create reports and maps, and it stores it all in a central database," says legislative computer analyst Dan Frye.

If you are interested in shaping the districts in our state, the General Assembly has set aside two computers for use. You can call 919-733-5688 to request a brief training and orientation session on using the new Redistricting software.

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