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Free Neighbors on Call Election Skills Fair on Sept 15, 2-4pm, Seymour Center, Chapel Hill. Meet NC Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls (we wrote postcards to help elect her in 2018!) and NC State Senator Jeff Jackson, plus a bunch of other progressive NC legislators and candidates. Learn about the 2020 voter photo ID requirements and how YOU can best help get out the vote for NC's progressive candidates in 2020 - in addition to writing postcards with Stamp NC Blue, of course!

UPDATE, FRIDAY, SEPT 13, from our friends at Stronger NC, via their Facebook page:
The House and Senate are wrapping up the drawing of new legislative districts as ordered by the court, but with very little notice or opportunity for the public to view the final maps or have any explanations offered from which to create informed public comment.

However, there is a chance to speak in person on Monday at noon in Room 643LOB, 300 N. Salisbury St. Raleigh.

If you can’t come in person, please submit comments online before Monday at this link...

In addition, the court has just appointed Nathanial Persily as the referee to review the maps submitted by the NCGA and detailed the rules of submission. They are looking for transcripts of hearings, reasons why incumbents were protected, which incumbents, and details on efforts made to not unduly double bunk incumbents, and on and on. Clearly the court has its eyes on them closely, as evidenced by their choice of Persily as referee.
For more on what his appointment means you can read this brief summary from Rick Hasen:
https://electionlawblog.org/?p=107322

Other new articles:

  • Sept 14, House plan still has at least half the partisan skew of the gerrymandered map, Princeton Election Consortium
  • Sept 13, Moore's narrative is lacking, Politics NC (paywall after 5 articles/month)
  • Sept 13, Voting district maps, WRAL Wrap (video)
  • Sept 13, N&O
  • Sept 12, What were NC Republicans trying to pull? GQ
  • See the maps on the NCGA web site by visiting the web pages for the House and Senate redistricting committees and clicking on the “Documents” button.

Scroll to the bottom to see more actions!

Want to jump to the earthquake? Scroll to Wednesday.

We danced a happy dance last week with the NC judicial ruling striking down the hyperpartisan gerry-mandering of many NCGA (not Congressional) districts and defining criteria and a deadline for re-drawing them. NC could be on a path to fairer maps and better government. AND gerrymandering in NC is not dead yet: "Unfortunately, while the grounds for celebration are clearly plentiful, there are still many miles to travel in this struggle and the end result is still far from certain." NC Policy Watch.

Here's a summary from the past week.
Friday, Sept 6:

  • The New Yorker published an excellent piece on the Hofeller files that describes what's happened here (and elsewhere) to try to lock in the 2010 Republican gains.
  • The two sides in the court case submitted their recommendations for court-appointed referees to oversee the process. The plaintiffs (aka the fair maps side) suggested Stanford law professor and previous special master, Nathanial Persily, and the defendents (aka Republicans) suggested Republican "king-maker" and major funder, Art Pope, and former legislative lawyer, Gerry Cohen. Read what's wrong with that picture, NC Policy Watch.
    Monday, Sept 9
  • The House & Senate Redistricting Committees began the process of creating new maps. Republican leadership (still in charge, of course) suggested that the use of maps put forward by an expert used by the defense (aka fair maps folks) in the court case. Sounds good, right? But not necessarily. Here's why, from Flip NC: "Imagine a poker game in which, rather than being dealt a single random poker hand, one of the players is allowed to choose from among 1,000 random poker hands. Who wouldn’t want that advantage? Obviously, the game would be extremely unfair even though each of the 1,000 hands was originally dealt randomly. The same principal applies here. Choosing one of Dr. Chen’s maps is not enough to ensure that the redistricting process is free from partisan consideration if Republicans can steer the process toward one of the most Republican-friendly versions of Dr. Chen’s maps. While Republicans are not able to use partisan data directly, they know these districts and county groupings extremely well and can propose criteria that make it far more likely that the selected baseline map strongly favors the GOP."
  • Stanton Jones, attorney for Common Cause, is aware of that risk. "Jones said his team is working with Chen to produce a reliable set of maps and data for the committees to use. He said the decision to use those maps as a starting point was 'reasonable in concept,' but said the final product will have to meet the thresholds set by the court. 'We would, of course, evaluate those maps to determine if they are fair and unbiased and to measure whether they may have been infected by partisan consideration.'” Carolina Public Press.
  • And at least one data scientist suggests a simpler approach that starts from scratch with a few basic principles (long, informative Twitter thread):
  • THEN,"The law firm representing Republican legislative leaders in an ongoing partisan gerrymandering case may have just polluted the remedial mapmaking process by sending them partisan data prohibited from use." NC Policy Watch. That's a pretty big OOPS!

via GIPHY

Tuesday, Sept 10

  • The Redistricting Committees each launch a video livestream. The court mandated that this be a public, transparent process.
  • The Senate & House Redistricting Committees opened portals for public comments. See yesterday's post for suggested comments (if today's post isn't enough, jeez!). Don't dilly-dally - they're on a tight timeline and this comment portal is a gesture, as they'll move forward as quickly as possible.
  • The Senate decided to use a lottery machine to pick base maps (one for each of the seven district clusters that must be re-drawn) from among those generated by Dr. Chen that avoided double-bunking incumbents. Some Democrats pushed a different plan, saying the process outlined by the Republican majority has a fundamental flaw, as described by Chen: "As this slate of incumbents is heavily Republican and was elected from previous versions of North Carolina's House districts, an attempt to protect all incumbents would, in general, encourage the drawing of a plan with districts somewhat similar to the pre-enacted districts from which these incumbents had been previously elected, thus indirectly distorting the partisan distribution of voters across districts..." WRAL. Maybe the House will throw darts to pick their base maps?

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Wednesday, Sept 11

  • The lottery winners (aka base maps the Senate will use) were posted Tuesday night. Then it changed throughout the day, and I can't figure out where it ended.
  • In a surprise move, the House voted to override Gov Cooper's budget veto first thing this morning. Democratic leadership reports being told there would be no votes before 1pm, a WRAL reporter was told the same thing last night on background (meaning unofficially). A few Dems were on the floor, many were preparing for redistricting committee meetings or at a 9/11 memorial. Rep. Deb Butler was in the chamber and gave them what for, for which the police were called to ask her to stop because well, we just can't have a woman screaming in the House, can we? Listen in at 2 minutes: "You will answer to the people of NC!" Response: "Not today." Twitter exploded with state and national attention. Republicans later entered redistricting meetings laughing (reported by a reliable observer). Reports about this earthquake:
  • Then David Lewis and Tim Moore tried to 'xplain it all away, "we never said that..." Scroll down for the WRAL video of their press conference.

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ACTIONS

HERE'S THE BOTTOM LINE: WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE POSSIBLY CAN FOR CHANGE IN 2020! Write postcards, knock on doors, send texts, make phone calls, donate to campaigns we support, talk with friends and family. This CANNOT continue!

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Tags: (Redistricting, 2020 Elections, NCGA, NCPol)

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