NC4RR Executive Director Addresses NCGA on Redistricting Process
Today our executive director, Mary Wills Bode, addressed the North Carolina General Assembly during a public comment session on the redistricting process. Below is her full statement.
My name is Mary Wills Bode, and I have the privilege of being the executive director of North Carolinians for Redistricting Reform, a bipartisan 501©(3) that seeks to improve representative democracy through redistricting reform.
I wanted to take a moment to talk about the process thus far—a process which was brought about by a hard fought legal battle to find relief from partisan gerrymandering, a practice that has poisoned our politics for decades. What we have witnessed over the course of the last week in the redistricting committee meetings has been a bipartisan process. One which had transparency. And one which relied on strict criteria and mathematical formulas to dictate outcomes.
And, the truth is this: never before has such transparency been seen in the map drawing process in North Carolina. After the Supreme Court decision closed the federal door on partisan gerrymandering, I wasn’t sure if there would ever be a light in the map drawing room. It is undeniable that the court's decision has already brought us a long way.
To be sure, this process has not been perfect. However, I believe that some of the shortcomings that have been raised came from the compressed timeline. In future processes in which a 2 week deadline is not prescribed, some of these issues can be avoided.
I want to thank both the Democrats and the Republicans for the leadership that they have shown here—the people of North Carolina want to see you work together to solve this problem. We desperately need you to. Afterall, these are the people’s maps. These are our maps. And we’re trusting you with them. We must have faith in the redistricting process for us to have faith in the democratic process.
I am also grateful to the people of North Carolina for showing up and tuning in—whether by live stream or in person. Democracy only works when we show up for it--the eyes, expertise and input from folks across the state have made this process better and as a result have made our new maps better.
I want to end on this: the lessons learned from this court-ordered process give us a real opportunity to develop a reformed, improved and lasting redistricting process in North Carolina. It is my sincere hope that we can seize that opportunity together.