N.C. voters support redistricting reform
RALEIGH - A strong majority of North Carolina voters support reforming the
state's redistricting process, according to a new poll commissioned by the
nonpartisan N.C. Center for Voter Education.
The survey finds 69 percent of voters concerned about the influence of
partisan politics in creating legislative and congressional voting maps.
Seventy-seven percent of voters believe there is a conflict of interest when
legislators draw their own districts, including 73 percent of Republicans,
76 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of unaffiliated voters.
A solid majority -- 70 percent -- favor giving redistricting authority to
nonpartisan legislative staff. The trend holds across party lines, with 73
percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of
unaffiliated voters favoring that change.
Recently a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, led by Republican Reps. Paul
Stam (Wake) and Chuck McGrady (Henderson) and Democratic Reps. Rick Glazier
(Cumberland) and Deborah Ross (Wake), introduced House Bill 606. The measure
would take redistricting power away from legislators and give it to
nonpartisan legislative staff for the next round of redistricting in 2021.
The bill has 61 sponsors, constituting a majority in the N.C. House, and
would bar map-drawers from considering such data as the party affiliation of
voters, past election results and the addresses of incumbents when creating
legislative and congressional districts.
"Voters across the political spectrum want to entrust redistricting
authority with a nonpartisan body," said Brent Laurenz, executive director
of the N.C. Center for Voter Education. "Such a reform could go a long way
toward removing politics from the redistricting process and building
confidence in our elections."
The statewide poll of 610 North Carolina voters was conducted Apr. 24-28 by
SurveyUSA and has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Founded in 1999, the Raleigh-based N.C. Center for Voter Education is a
nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping citizens fully
participate in democracy.
Poll results, including crosstabs, are available online:
Q1. North Carolina just went through the redistricting process, creating new
district lines and changing the makeup of congressional and state
legislative districts. How concerned are you, if at all, about the effects
of partisan politics on the creation of legislative and congressional
district maps in North Carolina? Are you ... Very concerned? Somewhat
concerned? Not very concerned? Or not at all concerned?
very: 38 percent
somewhat: 31 percent
not very: 18 percent
not at all: 8 percent
not sure: 4 percent
Q2. Currently, legislators in the General Assembly are responsible for
redistricting and can use political data such as past election results and
political party registration statistics when drawing new districts. Would
you support or oppose a plan to remove politics from the process and give
control of redistricting to a nonpartisan, independent body?
support: 61 percent
oppose: 19 percent
not sure: 21 percent
Q3. Do you think there is or is not a conflict of interest when legislators
are allowed to decide where their own district lines are drawn and which
voters will live in their district?
is a conflict of interest: 77 percent
is not: 11 percent
not sure: 12 percent
Q4. Would you prefer that nonpartisan staff at the General Assembly draw
legislative district maps? Or that redistricting continues to use the
current system, where legislators draw their own districts?
nonpartisan staff: 70 percent
legislators: 17 percent
not sure: 13 percent