North Carolina’s illegally gerrymandered districts have been in place since 2011. And this week, right here in the Triad, a federal court will decide how much longer we will have to live under them.
The hearing begins on Thursday in Greensboro, at the courthouse that hasn’t seen this much action since the John Edwards case of 2012.
It’s not the trial of the century, but it’s an awfully big deal for North Carolinians, particularly in those 28 state House and Senate districts that have been declared illegitimate. And since you can’t redraw a district without affecting the others in this zero-sum game, every resident of the state is being misrepresented.
Republicans in state government have been fighting for these districts since they drew them just a year after taking over state government for the first time in 100 years — initially defending them against a three-judge panel in 2016, and then in the Supreme Court last month. And now they want to hold off on drawing new, legal districts and staging a legitimate election for as long as they can — or, at least, not this year.
They will argue that a holding a special election this year would be too expensive, and would not allow enough time for candidates to file and prepare for their campaigns. And anyway, what’s the rush? Clearly the members of this General Assembly feel they have more damage to do before they start playing by the rules.
Perhaps there was a time in our state when our elected leaders actually cared about assembling a legislature that accurately represented the political will of their citizens. But clearly the majority of them currently do not.
And now we say again: Enough!
Enough justification for this cheesy, illegal political hackery. Enough subversion of our democracy. Enough finger-pointing at past legislatures who employed the same sleazy tactic. Enough foot-dragging on what amounts to the most important political issue of our time in North Carolina.
We demand new districts and a special election — not next year, not in the spring, but now, with a primary in October and a political reckoning in November.
And in that election, voters should punish anyone who defends or has defended these illegal districts by showing them the door.