What is Gerrymandering?
Gerrymandering, the partisan drawing of voting maps, has always been a part of American politics. The term itself dates back to 1812 and incorporates the name of Eldridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, who signed a bill approving voting maps that favored his party. At the time, the Boston Gazette suggested that the contorted shape of the districts resembled a salamander. Thus, we now use the term gerrymander to refer to voting districts specifically created to advantage one political party over another.
Why is Impartial Redistricting Important?
North Carolina is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation resulting in state legislative races are unfairly designed to favor one political party over another. Redistricting reform is critically important in North Carolina to ensure fair elections.
What is LWV-Wake Doing?
LWV-Wake's Redistricting Committee is actively advocating for a transparent process that incorporates impartial criteria for creating voting maps. The committee meets with legislators, observes legislative sessions, develops educational materials, makes presentations to the community, and writes letters to the editor. If you are a LWV-Wake member interested in joining the Redistricting Committee, please contact co-chairs Dianna Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sheila Denn at email@example.com.
Redistricting Reform Resources
The resources below provide information for those wanting to learn more about redistricting reform and how to end gerrymandering. Some of the resources included here are intended for use by other local League's interested in using the material that LWV-Wake has developed. (Simply click on the words in blue text to download PDF documents.) Additional League-related materials are available on the LWV-NC website.
Learn About the issue
- Basic Fact Sheet - This one-page basic fact sheet summarizes the principles of impartial redistricting that the League supports and lists the benefits to legislators and voters. This fact sheet can be distributed to your legislators.
- Summary of NC Redistricting Lawsuits - This three-page summary briefly reviews the major lawsuits challenging racial and partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina.
- Criteria Used in Other States - This one-page summary reviews the different redistricting criteria used in model states.
- Measuring Gerrymandering - This document explains the different metrics for understanding and identifying gerrymandered districts. (This document was created by a Dare County League member.)
- Guide to Action - This one-page handout describes what voters can do to support redistricting reform to end gerrymandering. (This handout should be distributed at any redistricting-related League events.)
- Letter to the Editor Guidelines - This one-page document provides tips and guidelines for writing letters to the editor.
- Fact Sheet - This one-page fact sheet summarizes the reasons the League is opposed to the NC General Assembly's proposed judicial redistricting.
- Considerations for Determining Judicial Districts - Unlike legislative and congressional redistricting, there are no specific criteria for drawing district lines. Rather, a variety of data and stakeholders should be considered. This one-page sheet summarizes the major considerations.
- League Position - Read LWV-Wake's official position opposing judicial redistricting.
Ratf**ked Book Discussion Toolkit
Discussion Toolkit - This is an extensive guide for facilitators leading a book discussion on David Daley's excellent book on redistricting, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. In addition to the complete toolkit, we have made both black and white and color versions available of the one-page handout of questions for book discussion participants. Click here for a color version of the handout. Click here for a black and white version (recommended if you need to be cost-conscious when reproducing handouts).
Redistricting Reform Campaign: Guide to Strategic Messaging in North Carolina
Messaging Guide - The redistricting reform messaging guide was developed specifically for use by members of the League of Women Voters. It is based on analyses of redistricting campaigns in other states and polling that was conducted in North Carolina. The messaging guide should help Leaguers when they are developing written materials, public presentations, letters to the editor, social media posts, public testimony, and so on.
Request for Guest Speakers
LWV-Wake has a team of speakers that can speak to your group about redistricting reform. Our team members have been quoted in numerous media publications and broadcasts on the issue of gerrymandering, presented testimony before the redistricting committees in the legislature, met with legislators to advocate for redistricting reform, and spoken to other groups of concerned citizens in the community. For more information, contact Dianna Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.