Congressional maps up for comment
Posted July 6, 2011 1:15 p.m. EDT
Updated July 7, 2011 10:57 p.m. EDT
The Joint Redistricting committee holds a public hearing Thursday on proposed changes to NC's congressional districts.
The new congressional map, available here, has drawn criticism from Democrats and African-American leaders who say mapmakers have tried to push minority voters into "safe" D districts ("packing") to make surrounding areas as friendly as possible for Republicans.
Republicans say that's not the case. They say the maps are "fair and legal" and fulfill the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act, which says mapmakers must protect the voting power of minority communities in the 40 counties subject to the Act.
The new map would bring some big differences to the state's urban areas. Wake County would be split into four districts, instead of three. Cumberland County would be reconfigured so thoroughly that it appears everyone in the county would have a new congressperson. Asheville would be carved out of Shuler's 11th district and added to McHenry's10th. Greensboro would no longer be in Miller's 13th district at all, and Mecklenburg would lose the western tail of Kissell's 8th district.
House and Senate Redistricting committee members will hold a hearing for public comments Thursday from 3pm to 9pm at seven locations around the state, connected via videoconference. Anyone wishing to speak can register on-site, one hour before the hearing starts.
Wake: NC Museum of History, First Floor Auditorium, 5 East Edenton St,
New Hanover: UNC Wilmington, Education Bldg, Rm
Hertford: Roanoke-Chowan Community College, Jernigan Bldg, Rm 126, 109
If you can't make it to one of the sites, check back here at WRAL.com: we may be carrying live video of the meeting. If you want to comment on the maps, legislators are also accepting comments online.
You can learn more about the redistricting process, find voter data, view the maps in detail, and even schedule time to draw your own maps at the NC General Assembly's Redistricting website.