by Joe Schwartz
North Carolina redistricting would mirror Iowa’s process in which the lines are drawn solely by legislative staff, thus removing politicians from the process, if a bill filed today is passed.
If passed, the bill would not affect the current redistricting for congressional and state legislative offices, which kicked off last week. It would alter the process for 2020 when the next census is conducted. The full text of the legislation has not yet been posted.
Bob Phillips of Common Cause NC, a member of the N.C. Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform, which is pushing the bill, says the bipartisan support is a major achievement itself.
He says Iowa, where a nonpartisan redistricting commission has drawn lines for four years, has seen renewed trust and acceptance among voters. This is a sharp contrast to North Carolina, which has generated a great deal of redistricting case law and where the public feels that “the game is rigged.”
“You see praise from both Democrats and Republicans (in Iowa),” Phillips said. “That would be such a contrast to what our experience in North Carolina is. We are the poster state for lawsuits, obviously. It’s an issue that’s like the 100-pound gorilla in the legislature. Things get negotiated around it or connected to it.”