After court rulings, congressional Democrats urge independent redistricting in NC
Days after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out three North Carolina plans for voter districts, the state’s three Democratic members of Congress are asking state Republican leaders to adopt independent redistricting.
Reps. Alma Adams, G.K. Butterfield and David Price also asked legislative leaders to avoid any new voter ID law after the high court last month declined to review a lower court ruling that found the state’s 2013 ID law unconstitutional.
“Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings demonstrate that the North Carolina General Assembly is unable to draw electoral maps that are fair and constitutional,” the three Democrats wrote in a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore.
“Any further attempts to suppress the votes of North Carolinians through discriminatory gerrymandering or voter ID laws is a waste of tax dollars and runs counter to our deeply-held commitment to voter rights,” they continued.
Berger called the letter “a stunt.”
“If this letter were anything but an unserious media stunt, Reps. Adams, Butterfield and Price would have shared it with legislative leaders before fast-tracking a copy to the press,” he said in a statement.
“But regardless, these members serve in Republican-drawn districts that are far less gerrymandered and far more compact than the old ones drawn by their Democrat peers, and their claims on voter ID are a slap in the face to the 70 percent of North Carolina voters who support protecting the integrity of our elections by requiring an ID when we vote.”
Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced an independent redistricting bill in February. It’s still in committee and unlikely to get out. Proponents say independent redistricting would allow voters to choose their representatives rather than the other way around.
GOP lawmakers have vowed to pass another voter ID bill. In a joint statement after last month’s Supreme Court ruling, Moore and Berger promised to find “a commonsense requirement to show a photo ID” at polls.
Former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory called for a new voter ID bill at last weekend’s state GOP convention. Republicans say it’s a way to protect the integrity of elections. “I know for a fact that we had a lot of non-citizens that were voting (in the last election),” he said.
A recent audit by the State Board of Elections found 41 non-citizens who cast ballots. They were legal residents who had successfully registered to vote.
In a statement, Adams said, “Instead of redirecting course and restoring the faith in our electoral system, Republican leadership has pledged to put forth yet another voter ID law. This is shameful. As elected representatives, we have a sacred responsibility to protect the vote.”