GUILFORD REDISTRICTING: WHO’S IN CONTROL?
With the redistricting process for the Guilford County Commission in its early stages, much of the discourse has taken place on the comment thread of conservative activist Joe Guarino’s blog. Partisan power politics, media fairness and legal intricacies have all been batted around. Out of nowhere, reader “Bruce” posted a link to a 1991 session law passed by the NC General Assembly setting forth the assignment of precincts by district for the Guilford County Commission. “That is an interesting point in that the state has made redistricting impossible unless you pass a bill to reverse,” “triadwatch” chimed in. “The state has said where each district goes.”
So, does the Guilford County Commission even have the authority to handle its own redistricting?
YES! Weekly placed a call to Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne seeking a legal opinion. Payne said he was familiar with the session law, but he would have to review state law before making a final determination.
“This is not a definitive answer,” he said. “I think the way it was set up, they set the initial districts. But it didn’t create any requirements that changes could only come from the General Assembly. I think you fall back on the general statute that says if there’s [population] inequity you can make adjustments.”
Payne said to check back with him later this week. We’ll have more to report on Guilford County redistricting later, too.