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Additional Resources

Governor Cooper on the need for an IRC

Common Questions

What is Redistricting?

Redistricting is the process used by governments to redraw political district boundaries. Redistricting applies to all levels of government where district elections are held, including the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, city councils, school boards, county boards, judicial districts, water districts, and more.

Redistricting is based on the idea of “one person, one vote.” By creating districts with the same number of people, we ensure that each of our voices can be represented fairly. Census data collected every ten years is used to draw new district maps to account for how populations have changed and moved across the states and districts. 

How district lines are drawn influences who runs for public office and who is elected. Elected representatives make decisions that are important to our lives, from ensuring safe schools to adopting immigration policies.

Who lives in a district can influence whether elected officials feel obligated to respond to a community’s needs. The district boundaries are in place for the next ten years, and their policy impacts can last well beyond that.

Why should we create an Independent Redistricting Commission?

Standing on decades-long work of advocates from across the state, in December of 2021, nonpartisan organizations began meeting again to learn about what it would take to successfully establish an Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) in North Carolina. IRCs take the power of redistricting out of the hands of legislators and aim to create district boundaries that are not beholden to any political party. They generally allow for greater public input in the process and usually include voters as map drawers and as members of the Commission. 

While an IRC bill ultimately must pass through the N.C. General Assembly and would need a statewide ballot initiative to put it in place; this workgroup is strengthening the legislative foundation and the political will for an IRC. We plan to introduce and build public education and support for a marker bill – a “Gold Standard” redistricting bill that Includes both common-sense incremental policy changes (such as rules around hearings and public input); and a truly citizen-ran independent commission that would ensure racial and partisan equity, and be positioned to craft fair maps that are responsive to the communities of North Carolina.

What is Prison Gerrymandering?

Prison Gerrymandering is caused by the way the Census counts people who are incarcerated as residents of a prison cell rather than in the communities they come from. Individuals are often counted in those temporary prison cells  despite the fact that they usually don't come from the community with the prison, they don't have social ties there, don't consider it home, and likely won't stay there after they're released.  The impact of this type of gerrymandering is that when new political lines are drawn using that census data, it gives disproportionate political representation to communities that have prisons, which tend to be more white and rural, and takes it from the communities where incarcerated people come from, which tend more urban to be made up of more people of color.

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