FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
League of Women Voters Concerned with Redistricting Process
Raleigh, NC, September 16, 2019 - The League of Women Voters of Wake County (LWV-Wake) has monitored the current redistricting process and is concerned. League of Women Voters of Wake County President Dianna Wynn states that “contrary to how redistricting has been approached, voting maps are not for politicians. These are the people’s maps, and the people of North Carolina should have a greater voice in this process.”
The Senate and House committees have online portals for public comment, but the portals were insufficiently publicized to voters. Submitted public comments have also not been readily available to legislators for consideration throughout the entire process. Furthermore, if all decision-making is to be done in public, then the public should have been able to view all comments as they were submitted, not after most decisions were already made.
While computer screens were live streamed during adjustments to maps, the video lacked a sufficient audio component. The public has no context for understanding why a portion of a map is being redrawn without the ability to adequately hear conversations and explanations related to the process. President Dianna Wynn states “I know that this makes a difference in monitoring and comprehending map changes because I was one of a handful of private citizens who stood quietly near a computer terminal one afternoon in the Senate committee room observing and listening until we were ordered out of that area of the room.”
The base maps chosen by the Senate committee unnecessarily included incumbent information. The League has long advocated for impartial criteria that specifically does not include incumbents’ addresses, and we believe that voting maps should not be drawn to protect incumbent seats. The court permitted the committee to minimize double bunking. However, that did not require that an initial base map include incumbent information.
Finally, the League is very concerned that House committee members and staff received emailed documents from the defendant’s attorney with partisan data early in this process. President Dianna Wynn is concerned that “we do not know whether those emails remained unopened, were deleted, or were forwarded to others. We do not know if any files attached to those emails were viewed, saved, or printed. The optics on this simply are not good.”
Sheila Denn, co-chair of LWV-Wake’s Redistricting Committee observes that “transparency is part of the bedrock of democracy. You cannot have a government of, by, and for the people unless the people have a view into, and can meaningfully participate in, the workings of their government.”
The League of Women Voters of Wake County is a grassroots nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizens’ participation in government and understanding of important issues through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters does not endorse or oppose political parties or candidates for office. Learn more at www.lwvwake.org.
Dianna Wynn, President
League of Women Voters of Wake County