The following is a special update from All On The Line NC (October 8, 2021):
The “official” map drawing process began this week at the NC General Assembly. Here’s what you need to know and what you can do right now to stand strong in the fight for Fair Maps.
There are 2 rooms (544 and 643) in the Legislative Office Building where map drawing takes place in public view. Each room has 4 stations. Legislative staff trained in the software are working the stations in shifts, so legislators can come in and draw maps any weekday between 9-5. There are live streams of each room and each station that are archived on the NCGA YouTue Channel. For some reason, the archived videos from the first day of map drawing (Wednesday 10/6) are archived in a different place: the NCGA Redistricting YouTube Channel.
The committee chairs have made it clear that they will not police what people bring into the room, so folks are definitely coming in with papers, laptops, etc. So, while maps are technically being drawn in public, there is likely plenty still happening behind closed doors.
As promised, Team AOTL NC is watching the process closely. AOTL-NC State Director Lekha Shupeck is live tweeting when anything of note happens, and State Digital Director Bri Brough is the back-up live tweeter when there are multiple stations going at once. We are also posting daily video recaps on our Facebook page and YouTube Channel!
So far, maps have been drawn almost exclusively by the redistricting committee chairs. Sens. Hise, Newton and Daniel are drawing Senate and Congressional maps, and Rep. Hall is drawing House maps. Some other members have come in to look at their current districts but so far the only other legislator to draw a map is democratic Sen. Ben Clark (his map is not yet complete – when it is, we’ll share it). These are just drafts – they have not been officially proposed. But they were drawn by powerful politicians and are important indicators of the direction they may be heading.
Obviously, these maps are pretty bananas. Here are some themes Team AOTL NC has noticed from these drafts:
- Mecklenburg and Wake Counties are both split into at least 3 (sometimes 4!) congressional districts. They each only need to be split once for population reasons.
- Both maps create a new seat west of Charlotte – that aligns with the rumors that Republicans are creating a seat for House Speaker Tim Moore to run for Congress.
- Democratic strongholds of Orange, Durham, and part of Wake Counties are packed into the current district 4.
- District 1 (a district that contains many of North Carolina’s historically Black rural communities) is radically reshaped in a way that massively changes its demographics
- Forsyth and Guilford are either split or kept whole but divided from each other and grouped with more rural areas.
- Cumberland County and the Sandhills region are split in some way (a slap in the face to the dozens of Sandhills residents who explicitly asked for a congressional district to represent their region during the pre-map public hearings)
- Both maps would result in a minimum of 9 safe GOP seats.
What To Do Now
Make no mistake – these maps are bad. Bad for democracy and bad for the people of North Carolina. But they are not unexpected – or final (they aren’t even officially proposed yet). The NC GOP has shown no interest in drawing maps that will fairly represent the people of our state. They only want to hold onto power at all costs – but we are fighting back. So, stay calm and take action:
1. Email the redistricting committee and demand more hearings after draft maps are officially proposed. This was the number one ask at the pre-map hearings, and the public deserves to see and respond to any maps that will be voted on by the legislature. You can use this tool to email all the members of the redistricting committee at once: https://act.
Pro tip: if you want to let the committee know what you think of their initial drafts, you can use this tool to do that too. Just delete the template and write your own (we always encourage you to customize our templates anyway – they are more effective if they are authentic to the sender).
2. Write Letter To The Editor calling on legislators to hold another round of public hearings after the draft maps are released. This was the number one thing people asked for in pre-map hearings – it came up at every one! Use our LTE tool (this will automatically send your Letter to 5 papers in your area) or write your own using this template (again, it’s best if you customize!): https://act.newmode.net/
3. Make a comment in the public portal about what you think of the direction of their maps so far, and pledge to testify if and when they hold more hearings after we have proposed maps: https://act.