In the Dec. 23 Point of View “North Carolina is no longer classified as a democracy,” Andrew Reynolds stated that in the Election Integrity Project report, “... North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone.”
That got my attention, so I looked up the data: https://www.electoralintegrityproject.com/featured-dataset.
The integrity score was obtained by ranking 11 factors affecting election integrity: electoral laws and procedures, voter registration, campaign finance, etc. The factor with the lowest score, nationwide and for North Carolina, was district boundaries (gerrymandering). The national average score was 33, lowest of all 11 factors. North Carolina ranked dead bottom at 7. Highest ranking state was Iowa at 73.
A bipartisan redistricting reform bill patterned on the Iowa model passed the N.C. House in 2013; Senate did not vote. The House reintroduced it with bipartisan sponsorship in 2015, but it was not voted on.
The courts have instructed the legislature to redraw current racially gerrymandered districts and hold special elections in 2017. So we now have the perfect opportunity to pass a reform bill, draw new, non-gerrymandered districts and truly elect who we want to represent us.
Larry D. King
Board member, Common Cause/NC