In North Carolina, the redistricting process that happens every 10 years rests solely in the hands of the state legislature (NCGA), which has an abysmal record of extreme partisan gerrymandering. (This is how half the votes cast end up winning one-fourth of the seats.) We have no independent redistricting commission, no nonpartisan adjudicators. The governor doesn’t even have veto power over the final results. That means citizen input and oversight throughout the redistricting process is more crucial than ever.
As soon as the census data is released on August 16, legislators in Raleigh will begin the process of drawing new legislative and congressional election maps that will determine our voting districts for the next 10 years. It’s crucial that they do this in an open and transparent way that includes public input and represents communities fairly.
Writing a Letter to the Editor (LTE) is one of the most beneficial tools for raising public awareness. In 250 words or less, you can have a big impact in your community, simply by increasing awareness of the stakes of redistricting and the importance of having a fair and inclusive redistricting process.
For background and talking points, see this letter from the state’s leading voting rights organizations to the legislature’s leadership and Joint Redistricting Committee, calling for a fair and open redistricting process. Top-level points include calling on the Redistricting Committee to:
- Follow a timeline that allows for informed public comment
- Provide real opportunities for public comment
- Ensure transparency throughout the entire process
How to Write & Submit
From scratch — Read our tip sheet on How to Write a Letter to the Editor for guidelines on writing a letter that will get published. We’ve also compiled a shortlist of submission guidelines and links for Buncombe County publications, which you can view or download here.
Using an online form — Use this online letter-writing and submission tool from All On The Line. Simply enter your name and email and ZIP code, and the tool will find your closest newspapers, provide you with template language you can easily edit, and prompts and examples to help you put things in your own words. Your completed letter will automatically be submitted to the editors of your local papers.
Please write and submit your letters now. Let people in your community know how important it is that their legislators get their input and draw fair maps, so that elections can truly represent the people’s choice.