Political observers weigh in on new North Carolina redistricting efforts

Political observers weigh in on new North Carolina redistricting efforts

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Making new North Carolina House and Senate districts work is the newest legal challenge for our state's general assembly.

Mecklenburg County Elections supervisor Michael Dickerson understands the critics who contend too many ballots are cast in safe seats or gerrymandered districts.

"I think the courts ruled first that these districts were drawn because they put too much emphasis on partisan politics," Dickerson said.

This latest battle involves assigning new districts for state House and Senate seats.

Attorney Phil Van Hoy is a former party official with the Mecklenburg County GOP.

"It's the nature of gerrymandering that the parties on both sides try to make the districts too advantageous in the general assembly elections as well as the US House elections," he said.

Local pastor Ricky Woods sees it as political finger pointing.

"We need to get beyond our Republican majority saying, 'Well, the Democrats did it when they were in charge,' and each party blaming each other - so it becomes party politics rather than representative government," Reverend Woods said.

If state lawmakers don't get it right this time, then it would mean the federal courts would step in and draw new boundaries. It could signal the NC general assembly would not be in charge of its own political destiny.

"You don't know what could happen," Dickerson said.

That's if the courts have a final say.

"The Republican party doesn't want that." Van Hoy said. "When the Democrats were in charge, they would not have wanted that either."

Observers are hoping for a level playing field.

"The courts have said you can't use race as a basis, but there are other things other than race you can use. You can use zip codes," Reverend Woods said.

The feds are hoping to review a new state voting plan by mid-September.

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