The Solution

The best solution is a citizens' commission, where voters from both major parties and voters who are registered independent or with third parties draw the maps and, ideally, approve them. In states with citizen commissions, there are more districts that are competitive, fewer court challenges (and even fewer that succeed!), higher voter approval for the legislature, and more cooperation to find solutions that work for everyone.

To define a good commission design for NC, we studied 50 bills introduced in legislatures in 15 states--mostly in the South--to identify a reform that can:

  • end extreme gerrymandering AND

  • pass the legislature in time for the next redistricting (starting in early 2021)

The result is a clear approach to ending gerrymandering in North Carolina:  adopt a Reasonable Redistricting Reform commission. Now we’re working to bring together North Carolinians from across the state and across the political spectrum to support an impartial commission based on 5 Principles for Reasonable Redistricting Reform:

  1. Include the legislature in the process, such as in naming some of the commissioners

  2. Include citizens and/or impartial experts as members of a commission reflecting the state's racial and other diversity

  3. Set strict rules for the commission’s work that:

    • apply traditional redistricting standards (compact, contiguous, respect communities of interest)

    • do not allow the use of partisan data or partisan objectives (except to comply with federal law)

    • use voting rules that require consensus support for the maps from commissioners across the political spectrum

  4. Provide for extensive citizen participation and transparency

  5. Make the maps final on the commission’s vote

North Carolina groups from across the political spectrum have come together to promote this sound solution by creating FAIR DISTRICTS NC, a broad, nonpartisan coalition. Our approach is new to North Carolina, but it’s based on what has worked in other states. Redistricting approaches following these principles have gained bipartisan support and won approval by state legislatures in many other states. We believe it will work in North Carolina, too!