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Redistricting 101

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
The Truth Network Radio
March 14, 2022 2:52 pm

Redistricting 101

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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March 14, 2022 2:52 pm

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs sits down with Dr. Andy Jackson to discuss North Carolina’s recent (and complicated) redistricting process, and explain how our new legislative and congressional districts could impact the upcoming election.

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Family policy matters in engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Ralston, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fold better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters. Tracy Devitt Griggs thanks for joining us for family policy matters redistricting as a result of the 2020 Census North Carolina gained an additional seat in Congress.

Population growth and changes across the state to mean that lawmakers and lawyers have been furiously working to redraw district maps. Dr. Andy Jackson is director of the sabotage Center for Public integrity at the John Locke foundation where he focuses on government compliance with the law, especially regarding election policy when he joined today to try and explain as simply as possible. What's going on and what it all means for North Carolina voters who will head to the polls in a matter of weeks for primary elections. Dr. Andy Jackson welcome to family policy matters. For those of us who just hearing the clamoring about this redistricting may not really understand why it's such a big deal. Talk about the process of redistricting and why does that matter so much to all of us.

Matter so much because in the world we go to determine who our representative in the Gen. assembly will be who are representative in Congress will be, and also how the maps are drawn can affect the balance of power, and especially in the North Carolina Gen. assembly so that you know how you draw maps, one party, other could greatly benefit and that could affect what kind of policies affect the everyday lives.

What is the connection between the federal census that's done every 10 years in redistricting were required to have a couple of Supreme Court cases about 60 years ago were required to have one person one vote in our district elections. What that means is that every district has to be roughly the same size and population, and because of that will every 10 years that crime shows where our population change your workbook. Grown what areas of strength in terms of population. And so they have to redraw the districts so that all about the same type population as a practical matter, that means over last couple of which are done every 10 years cities.

The urban area in your wake County Mecklenburg County. They have grown so they are giving more representation in the general simply where some of your lawyers are getting okay so what is the process then for redistricting, North Carolina had an even get started on that course was a little unusual because data came in late because of all the government restrictions surrounding COBIT but what you're supposed to do, collected, and every year that ends in a zero.

Generally speaking, then once the general simply receives that data from the symptoms girl where they know basically where everybody lives. Then they draw the districts so that they meet that one person one vote requirement. Usually we draw the districts well in advance but this year is a very truncated process could get the data until last September. It took another month to process the data and submit them even start drawing the map until last October, which was about six month later than they usually do talk first about the congressional districts.

How do these new maps affect those well really interesting.

One, they are neither the original maps drawn by the general assembly or what we call remedial maps drawn under court order by the Gen. assembly. The trial court in that case decided that they were going to accept the new maps written by the Gen. assembly under court order.

Instead, the court said we were going draw our own maps of the required abuse but three individuals are called special masters and those special masters drew the map that is interesting is what the Gen. assembly had submitted at the remedial maps was going to be what we would call a 64 format, which means that it works six Republican leaning district or Democratic leaning districts and for really really competitive district curricula gone either way, depending on how your people were voting that year, and that's an unusually large amount of competitive district for any state just because the where people live just generally hard to draw really competitive districts, and so the court rejected that and what they submitted. Since we a 7617 Republican six Democratic and one swing district and how you want to interpret that it could be that they they thought that having that close the divide was more balanced, or it could be a way of protecting Democrats in the next election because people are expecting this to be a Republican wave election coming up this year about the special masters who are they, and where they come from special masters are appointed by court either draw districts or review districts. You have to remember that a judge may not be an expert or may not have enough expertise in redistricting to judge for him or herself whether or not these districts are fine for bringing these people.

This time there were three former judges, the one whose name I remember is Bob or who the North Carolina spring court. There were two others, and so they were brought on specifically to ascertain whether or not these maps that the general simply submitted fit the criteria for the orders given by the North Carolina Supreme Court earlier this year. Okay so let's talk now about the general assembly. There are two sets of maps I want for the house and one for the Senate here yet and the house about was interesting because that was kind of a Kumbaya moment for that. When they were gone. How hook is how the house map originates in the house. It was very much a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. You could argue that Republicans gave way more than they needed to but it ended up being. I think only five representatives out of the hundred 20 voted against that map so that was a highly cooperative business of the Senate was totally opposite the side.and Republican majority in the Senate so they were able to pass the strict partyline vote, and that one is probably closer depending on what measures you use to decide if a Baptist legal or not the Senate map is probably closer than the house map but it's also more beneficial to Republicans than the house map is comparatively they have stronger advantage. So despite that both of those method up getting approved by the court. So when you said that this was a Kumbaya moment is that a reflection of where were going, are we gonna see similar cooperation Artie think this was just a fluke, I would probably fluke because the house leadership maybe have decided that they wanted to not have this much contentiousness. One of the things that they didn't do though, and this might've been the reason the Republicans were okay with something that at least on the surface looks like it's beneficial to Democrat.

A lot of people that are leaning towards the Democrats on this new maps are still relatively competitive Democrats only up on average of say two or three percentage points. And that means when Republicans have a good year. They could still win a majority or even a supermajority and as a practical matter, you really want because they can't get policies past Gov. Cooper's veto if they don't get you're probably in tune with how people are feeling are they relieved are they angry. What's the sense out there. From what I've seen for the reaction go. I think I'm an obviously Republicans are upset because they lost the method that they wanted to have the. Originally passed some Democrats are happy others are thinking that this is better better than what they had originally but it still isn't really what they would call a fair amount once again people of different definitions of what a fair map is but it's not certainly not as advantageous to the Democrats and some of them would've liked. I would say I think maybe they're ready to get this behind them and their kind of relief in that sense but I think there is relatively few people that are satisfied with is there a way to stand back and just judge whether or not it's ever possible to have a fair map concerning this short answer I would say no because the problem is, how are you going to define fair map is a map that accurately reflects the statewide vote distribution is a map that actually reflects where people live in now. People vote because if you look at those two different criteria.

You get to very different answers. North Carolina is is basically it were not a 50-50 thing were basically a 5149, on average, state that 51% Republican. And so if your Democrat you would say what we should have is seats that reflect that that that the average election will also be 5149. The problem is with our political geography. Democrats tend to be more concentrated in cities where Republicans are more spread out and so in order to achieve that.

You actually have to draw districts to benefit them Democrat you basically have to gerrymander you're going to prevent gerrymandering in that name so I don't think were ever going to have a happy resolution where everybody's going to agree that this is what a fair map looks like. I think board end up having to continuously muddle through. In this process and and we may come to a day where we kind of know where the bright lines are and so the general so we won't be successfully sued again but I'm not sure we've arrived looking at what is happened over this long process is your feeling of judges in courts. We've had a sense, at least in the past that judges were supposed to be impartial.

Do you feel better about that or worse that that having seen what happened throughout this whole redistricting process. Well I think I'll answer that with a projection right now we have two note: the Supreme Court seats. Both of them are held by Democrats. Both of those seats are going to be up this year. One of the incumbents Samberg and the fourth is running for reelection. The other one going to be an open seat if Republicans win both associates and we revisit this issue in two years. I have a feeling that were going to get a very different result.

So I think that all this all all that we need to know about this, that even in the courts of them is still quite political and I think that is no accident that it was before Democrats that voted for overturning the maps and that the three Republicans voted against so we certainly at least on the terms that were done in this case.

We certainly don't have any kind of concurrence about what is a fair map and what in North Carolina Constitution with regard to maps on so our changes are more and more important for us to consider in and vote for. They these days all somewhat long term lessons do we come away from this process with anything that we can take into the next. Next time I like to think every time and some regularity, North Carolina. Every time the court overturns a map that it's kind of a learning process that Gen. assembly learned okay we can do this the most famous one is the Stevenson versus Bartlett case, which was 2000 Jewish and that when they ruled that they had to try to keep counties whole as much as possible because I don't know if you seen some of the older maps that we have North Carolina but they had these real squiggly lines that would cut across like parts of several counties to unite other areas. That was classic gerrymandering in the Stevenson ruling was that while you can't do that as much as possibly happy counties together and then we had another case a couple years later I think about 2017-ish.

With regard to using glacial data so that we don't use racial data when were redistricting and so that worker parts of this kit of this last case that probably are going to get overturned but I think that, for example, when I will get you on these mathematical mop bottles that show you the probabilities of distribution of seats in the state and I think that probably the general summons, probably have to keep that in mind when the drawing districts in the future and I think that will help with regard to future court cases no matter how the report goes back to Jackson where listeners go to follow developments related to this and to follow your work well over at John Locke foundation with the lock with ESPN's John and I write there regularly.

My colleague Jim Starling by some election issues regularly and we have a lot of stuff over Dr. Andy Jackson, director of the scimitar Center for Public integrity at the John Locke foundation. Thanks so much for being with us today.

Family policy matters.

You been listening to family policy matters.

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