Duke symposium pushes for further redistricting reform | Beaufort County Now | There is broad agreement that North Carolina is better suited to handle redistricting in a more transparent fashion than a decade ago, but further improvements can be made to the process according to a wide spectrum of speakers at Duke University’s Redistricting and American Democracy two day sympos

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is Dallas Woodhouse.

    There is broad agreement that North Carolina is better suited to handle redistricting in a more transparent fashion than a decade ago, but further improvements can be made to the process according to a wide spectrum of speakers at Duke University's Redistricting and American Democracy two day symposium.

    The event included scholars, judges, and activists from across the political spectrum who examined the legal and political landscape of North Carolina redistricting.

    While every speaker spoke of the need for increased transparency and hope for better processes, there was little consensus on exactly what reforms are needed and how to achieve them politically and constitutionally.

    Pope Foundation President John Hood summed up the difficulties in deciding what goals are most important in redistricting and reform efforts.

    "Members of the public are looking for something that is not crazy and is stable. However, most people are in favor of political districts that are competitive, districts where the outcome is not pre-determined once you get past the primary. They want rationality, they want competitiveness, but some also want proportionality.

    But proportionality and competitiveness can be competing values," said Hood.

    The featured event for the second day of the conference included a "Building Bipartisan Support for Redistricting Reform" a moderated conversation between Tom Ross, president of The Volcker Alliance and co-chair of North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform, and Art Pope, chairman of the John William Pope Foundation.

    Ross a former president of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system and Pope, a former state budget director and one-time Republican member of the NC House, say they both support putting redistricting reform in the state Constitution through a statewide referendum.

    Ross, stated "had the pandemic not completely consumed every legislative activity," bi-partisan reforms might have already been presented to voters for approval.

    "We were hearing positive things," Ross said.

    "In 2020, yes, I picked up the phone and talked to legislators on both the Republican and Democratic side," Pope said.

    Pope and other speakers said the process so far this year is improved in significant ways. As reported by Carolina Journal previously, N.C. House and Senate committees officially adopted criteria for drawing legislative and congressional districts that forbid the use of partisan or election-results data to draw new district boundaries. That's a departure from previous redistricting under both Democrats and Republicans, in which partisan data played a key role.

    Still, Pope added:

    "We need to start working today for a constitutional amendment for the next round," referring to the next round of redistricting.

    Speakers from Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, who previously sued North Carolina over district maps, said they will be watching the map drawing process and the results closely. They believe the General Assembly should conduct more public hearings.

    Hood added his perspective that removing all political considerations from redistricting is impossible. However, adopting traditional redistricting criteria that focuses on compact, congruent districts that keeps as many counties whole as possible while complying with the voting rights act and maintaining equal population, and putting the criteria in the state constitution, can curb the excess of extreme partisan map making.

    Note: Art Pope is board chairman of the John William Pope Foundation. John Hood is the president. The organization is a supporter of the John Locke Foundation, the parent company of Carolina Journal.
Go Back


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

The staff of the N.C. ABC met Tuesday, Nov. 9, with representatives from 34 local ABC boards across the state to talk about ways to improve the distribution of high-demand, low-supply, allocated spirituous liquor products.
On Wednesday, Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz grilled Deputy Attorney General Kristen Clarke over the Biden Justice Department ordering the FBI to investigate alleged “threats” against school board members and teachers.
In September, the chancellor of UNC-Wilmington, Jose Sartarelli, announced his plan to retire next year.
The Beaufort County Commissioners will get another bite at the patriotic apple, a fruit they far too often hold in great disdain, to pass this necessary resolution.
A controversial environmental program controlled by North Carolina’s attorney general and funded by hog farm proceeds returned today to the N.C. Supreme Court. The court must decide whether the AG can maintain control of the funding moving forward.
Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Marty Makary is speaking out about blanket vaccine mandates that are “ruining lives” and bizarrely discount natural immunity, which he said studies have shown to be 27 times more effective than vaccinated immunity.


I have been following the Sheppard case and the Franks case the last couple of years with a somewhat dispassionate interest. The wheels of justice grind and they do grind slow.
On Tuesday, just before 1 p.m. a shooter allegedly injured multiple people at Oxford High School in a suburban area roughly 45 miles north of Detroit.
Montana State University (MSU) professors and other faculty members have taken it upon themselves to verbally accost students protesting MSU’s mask mandate. In emails obtained by The Daily Wire, at least five MSU professors and faculty used work emails to harass and swear at engineering students.
Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 key metrics and trends.
A federal judge in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction on Tuesday against Democrat President Joe Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in three states.
A top N.C. Senate education leader is criticizing Attorney General Josh Stein for his handling of the state’s defense in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit.


John Lacava explains why he is running for School Board


Back to Top