Opinion

“The Facts on Racial Gerrymandering”

The U. S. Supreme Court recently declared district lines drawn by North Carolina’s legislature to be unconstitutional gerrymanders.

It was determined by the Court that race was a primary factor in the creation of those district lines.

 

By definition, facts do not lie and facts are not partisan.

As a digital native in this digital age, I’ve seen first-hand how the influx of information we receive can create a culture of misinformation. It allows politicians to perpetuate unconstitutional acts without the people’s knowledge nor permission.

We, as their constituents need the facts to hold them accountable.

So, here are four nonpartisan facts to do so:

First, the U. S. Supreme Court recently declared district lines drawn by North Carolina’s legislature to be unconstitutional gerrymanders.

Second, it was determined by the Court that race was a primary factor in the creation of those district lines.

Third, the state legislature was told to redraw the lines and hold special elections.

Fourth, thanks to legislative foot-dragging, special elections may or may not take place this year.

These facts might lead a voter to believe that their voice and their vote “doesn’t count.” This may be why young voters stayed home in 2016 and why the government continues to lose credibility with the people. Gerrymandered districts and low turnout only compound the problem, keeping in place a “unconscionably-constituted” legislature that continues to pass illegal laws which impact marginalized communities most.

Fortunately, I have seen concerned citizens of all ages, across party and racial lines, using those same online spaces that provide so much information to reach out to their lawmakers like never before and voice their opinions about this important issue.

While many “unconstitutionally-constituted” state lawmakers in safe districts may balk at constituent demands for redrawn maps and special elections, the state constitution itself provides the basis for us to take action now:

“Every person restrained of his liberty is entitled to a remedy to inquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the restraint if unlawful, and that remedy shall not be denied or delayed.”

Our racially-gerrymandered districts have been deemed unlawful. The fact remains: our remedy should not be denied or delayed any longer.

For ways to get involved in the fight for redistricting reform, visit democracync.org.

Kristen Marion

Kristen Marion is a Democracy Summer intern based in Winston-Salem. She is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

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