North Carolina: It’s Time to Wake Up

Meet David Lewis, the man who admits to gerrymandering the state of North Carolina. Repeatedly.

“I propose that we draw the map to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats,”

In 2010, Republicans gained a majority in both the House and Senate for the first time in a Century, giving them exclusive control of districting in our state. The House and Senate each promptly formed redistricting committees, with David Lewis heading the former.

Their goal was simple, and articulated. They aimed to:

“solidify conservative policymaking at the state level and maintain a Republican stronghold in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next decade.”

And they were successful. The effects of the redistricting, finalized in 2011, has skewed two separate elections. In 2012, despite receiving a 49% minority of statewide votes, Republicans won 9 out of 13 congressional seats. In 2014, pulling 54%, Republicans won 10 out of 13 seats. Exactly according to Lewis’ plan.

Eventually, public outcry was heard, and on February 5, 2016, a three judge panel struck down the 2011 plan, calling for the creation of a more accurate representation.

The very next day, Representative Lewis got back to work, returning to the same man, Dr. Hoffler, whom he used to create the previous 2011 districts.

Lewis visited Dr. Hofeller’s home several times during the reconstruction of this plan. Lewis further instructed Dr. Hofeller that he should use that political data to draw a map that would maintain the existing partisan makeup of the state’s congressional delegation, which, as elected under the racially gerrymandered plan, included 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats.

Lewis would further admit that “to the extent [we] are going to use political data in drawing this map, it is to gain partisan advantage.” Acknowledging freely to the creation of a political gerrymander, which he maintained was not against the law.

On Feb. 15, 2016, a public hearing was held to discuss redistricting efforts. After the districting already created. It was reported that “the 2016 plan did not reflect any public input.” This hearing was nothing more than a performance.

On Feb. 19, 2016, as the North Carolina House of Representatives debated the plan, Lewis explained,

“I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for this country.”

The plan was then approved by the House. Virtually identical to the original plan that was deemed unconstitutional.

This is real. These things are happening. Clearly articulated unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation carried out through back-room deals. This is how our highest form of representation leads our state. When slapped on the wrist, our politicians return immediately back to their misdeeds.

But there’s still hope.

Two parties have taken action — the group known as Common Cause, consisting the North Carolina Democratic Party, as well as the League of Women Voters of North Carolina. Together, these groups had the plan struck down once again by a panel of 3 Federal Judges, on grounds of it being in violation of citizens rights under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, The First Amendment, and Article 1 of the Constitution.

Republicans are protesting the rejection, and plan on taking the case to the Supreme Court.

The citizens of North Carolina have been cheated, their voices silenced. Will our highest power recognize the blatant issues and grant equality to the people? Or will unconstitutional politics prevail, leaving North Carolina in the same rut it has as the past 18 years?

Either way, 2018 will be one to remember.

Thank you for reading! I am Jon Delgado, a student in North Carolina with a passion for my community. All feedback is welcome.

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