Submit a Public CommentThe People’s HearingNCAAT Statement on RedistrictingRedistricting 101Let’s Talk Redistricting on Instagram

On October 20, 2021, the North Carolina General Assembly released proposed Congressional and state redistricting maps with little notice, announcing two final days of Redistricting Public Hearings scheduled for Oct. 25 and 26. This rushed timeline afforded North Carolinians only a few days to track down maps, analyze them, prepare appropriate comments, and reach out to impacted communities, particularly in language. Public hearings are the best way for community members to provide input on voting maps, ultimately impacting our lives for the next 10 years.

Read NCAAT’s statement to the NC House and Senate redistricting committees here.

 

Learn about what you can do now and about the general redistricting process below.

Submit a written public comment through the legislature’s online portal

Submit a public comment to testify about how redistricting impacts your community and communicate about the importance of keeping your communities together to uplift your communities’ specific needs. Submit your comment here.

Resources to help with your public comment

Don’t know what to write? Learn about the basics of redistricting in our Redistricting 101 section below

In addition, check out these additional resources:

Participate in The People’s Hearing

The legislature has given very limited time, means ,and access for our communities to voice our concerns about the redistricting process in North Carolina and about the needs of our local communities. Help us amplify and uplift voices by submitting a video to The People’s Hearing which will be publicly available.

Redistricting 101

What is the Decennial Census? 

The Decennial Census counts all residents of the United States, regardless of age, national origin or citizenship, every 10 years. This is a federally mandated program (Article 1. Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution). All responses are confidential. 

Why is the Census important? 

The Census is important because it plays a role in congressional representation apportionment for the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Apportionment is the process of dividing the total number of congressional seats (435) or memberships in the U.S, House of Representatives among the 50 states. At the end of each decennial census, the results are used to determine the number of seats to which each state is entitled. Every state is entitled to a minimum of one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

It has implications for:

  • Population counts
  • The size of district voting maps
  • Allocations of federal funding 
  • Community planning (ie where roads, schools, hospitals etc will be built)
  • Economic considerations (locations of businesses, corporations, headquarters, factors and workplaces)

NC 2020 Census Results to date

  • Total US population: 334,735,155 
  • Total North Carolina population: 10,435,948 
  • Number of Apportioned Representatives: 14. (This is a gain of 1 seat from 2010 Census)

What is Redistricting?

Redistricting  is the redrawing of district maps after each Census to ensure an equal number of people in each district. It occurs at all levels of government such as the U.S. House of Representatives, the State Legislature, County Commissions, City Councils, and School Boards. Redistricting affects who votes for a certain seat and who each representative is responsible for. It is an opportunity where communities can gain or maintain political power.

Why is Redistricting Important?

North Carolina is ground zero for gerrymandering, which often arises during redistricting. 

Gerrymandering is the manipulation of district lines to help politicians gain or stay in power by including or excluding certain voters. Past maps drawn by the NC legislature have been found by the U.S. Supreme Court and NC State Courts to be racial and partisan gerrymanders. Gerrymandering undermines the voices of voters of color. It erodes our democracy because voters should decide who is elected, not the other way around. 

Participating in redistricting is also important to make sure your community stays together. When divided into separate districts, communities are less able to elect their candidate of choice and to advocate for their needs. To avoid this, communities can ask to be in a single district by forming communities of interest, which may share similarities in terms of language, ethnicities, histories, and their views. Communities of interest have an increased ability to elect politicians who understand their needs and hold their representative responsible. 

Case Study: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is an HBCU in Greensboro. In the 2016 redrawing of Congressional districts, the campus was split down the middle into two districts, diluting the community’s voting power. This diminished the school’s ability to advocate for federal agricultural and scientific research funding. Many students who moved dorms had to re-register in another Congressional district. In the 2019 court mandated redrawing, NC A&T was reunited into one district. The community was able to establish an early voting site in the 2020 election, increasing accessibility. 

What Does Redistricting in North Carolina Look Like? 

In North Carolina, the state legislature, the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA), draws the maps. After drafting the maps, the NCGA holds public hearings. Because of delays in data collection and processing, the United State Census Bureau has postponed the dispersal of redistricting data files to September 30, 2021, after which the formal process will begin. Limited public hearings were held quickly and with short notice in October. While they are now over, a public comment portal is still available on the legislature’s website. 

NC State law establishes the following requirements for state legislative districts: 

  • Districts must be contiguous and compact. 
  • Districts “must cross county lines as little as possible.” If counties are grouped together, the group should include as few counties as possible. 
  • Communities of interest should be considered. 

Currently, North Carolina comprises 13 United States congressional Districts, along with 50 state senate districts, and 120 state house districts. NC state senators and NC state representatives are elected every two years in partisan elections.

How Can I Get Involved?

Some draft redistricting maps have been published in October while others are still being drawn, with voting coming up very soon. There’s plenty to do regardless of the stage in the official process. Here is a timeline of community actions.

Summer – Fall
  • Get Informed: learn the rules, criteria, and the process for providing public input 
  • Form Your Community of Interest: build a coalition of neighbors. Reflect on what you have in common and why it is important to stay in one district. Collect stories from your community to inform written comments and testimonies. 
  • Map Your Community: create a map using open-sourced redistricting software. You can submit these to your representatives before or during the public hearings. 
Fall – Winter 
  • Watch the NCGA during the map drawing process to ensure accountability.
  • Testify at Public Hearings and/or submit written comments on map drafts
  • Contact Your Representative and encourage your team to do the same
  • Help raise public awareness of the process and the needs of your community of interest.

Let’s Talk Redistricting

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3