The Feb. 13 editorial “ A pointless exercise” reprinted from the Lenoir newspaper admonished Moral Monday participants to “win elections, and then you can do something about the wrongs you perceive.” I totally agree, but only if we acknowledge the elephant in the room: the partisan redistricting process of gerrymandering.
Voting to “win elections” works in a democracy, but unfortunately North Carolina is not a democracy. It is a “gerrymockeracy” because gerrymandering makes a mockery of the principle of “one person, one vote.”
In November, 52 percent of N.C. House races were uncontested. In N.C. Senate races, 40 percent were uncontested. So almost half the voters had no choice in selecting their legislators. In contested races for N.C. House, statewide vote was 54 percent Republican, but Republicans won 67 percent of the seats. Similarly, they won 54 percent of the statewide vote for N.C. Senate, but won 77 percent of the seats.
Gerrymandering eliminated the vote of almost half the voters. The other half played with a stacked deck: The party that drew the legislative districts won disproportionate representation.
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We cannot “win elections” and “do something about the wrongs” we perceive until gerrymandering is eliminated. Let’s tell our legislators!
Larry D. King
Board member, Common Cause/NC