A simple solution to redistricting

January 9, 2014

The Associated Press article, “N.C. Supreme Court ponders legality of redistricting,” in the Jan. 8 edition of the Laurinburg Exchange began: “The validity of North Carolina’s legislative and congressional maps is back in the hands of the state Supreme Court as attorneys argued Monday whether the boundaries comply with federal and state laws and previous court opinions.”

The third paragraph ended with: “Thousands of pages of motions, briefs and background have been filed by lawyers since this round of redistricting litigation began in late 2011.”

“Previous court opinions” indicates a never-ending battle, and “thousands of pages” of legal work indicates a tremendous investment in time and expense, but could this issue be resolved with a simple and fair resolution?

The article addressed districts with “odd-looking shapes” due to “gerrymandering.” According to the Jan. 9th morning news broadcast on WLNC radio in Laurinburg, in some extreme cases, elected public officials were literally removed from the districts they were elected to represent due to radical new lines.

Why not form perfectly square districts around our state’s major interior cities? Then, form as near a square as possible around our major cities near geographic borders and state lines. For example, straight-line western and northern borders with the South Carolina line and the coast as southern and eastern borders around Wilmington, and straight-line eastern and northern boundaries with Tennessee and South Carolina state lines as western and southern borders around Ashville.

Next, form larger squares in the rural areas between our major cities, based on an as near as possible equivalent to the average populations of our major cities,

and rural districts with as many straight-line boundaries as possible where they touch our coast or the three other states that border ours.

Whether in the smaller districts around our cities, or the larger more rural districts, representation would be based on near equivalent populations, rather than race or political affiliation.

Above all, elected officials would be required to represent their districts based on the common good, rather than quid-pro-quo politics, any possibility of violating the Voting Rights Act would be eliminated, and the never-ending gerrymandering battle would be over once and for all, now wouldn’t it?

Think about it, please.

Robert C. Currie Jr.