Democracy demands an open and participatory approach to the redrawing of our county commissions. Local citizens and organizations can encourage their county commissions to adopt open processes for the 2021 redrawing. Too often in the past, district redrawing has gone on behind closed doors, limiting the input of citizens and even effectively excluding some commission members.
Here’s what you can do to ensure county residents’ voices can be heard: ask your county commission to adopt an open and participatory process. We’ve drafted a resolution ready for commissions to adopt it.
The commission is more likely to act if local organizations and citizens endorse the resolution and ask to adopt it. Here is a one-pager summary (PDF file) that you can use to help promote endorsement of the Resolution.
Here are tools you can use to get this done:
- Resolution Endorsement. Local organizations and residents can use this form to support an open process and add their voice to those asking the county commission to adopt the Open Redistricting Resolution.
- Draft Commission Resolution. The draft resolution is all ready to go (unless you want to make changes). Just insert your county’s name! You can also make changes–it’s your county! View the sample Resolution as a PDF file (revised May 2021).
- Steps. When your county commission adopts the Fair Redistricting Resolution they should also announce open and transparent redistricting process steps. See the “Steps” tab below for an example set of steps.
After your organization completes the form, Fair Counties NC will reach out to you to provide assistance in getting the commission to adopt it, if needed. Of course, you can also pursue this on your own.
If your organization is working in multiple counties, you can include some or all of the counties in one form. (You can also adapt this form can to apply to city councils that elect council members by district and may have to redraw them.)
EXAMPLES OF POTENTIAL ORGANIZATIONAL ENDORSERS:
- County Democratic Party
- County Republican Party
- County Libertarian/Green/ Conservative Party
- City and County Civic Organizations
- City and County Chambers and Business Associations
- City and County Racial Justice Organizations
- Institutions of Higher Education in your county
- County Pastors Coalition
- County VFWs
- Greek Sororities and Fraternities
RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING AN OPEN AND NONPARTISAN PROCEDURE FOR THE 2021 [insert county name] COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS REDISTRICTING
WHEREAS state statutes require that the [insert county name] County Board of Commissioners redraw Commission districts to reflect the current population following the decennial Census, and
WHEREAS these county redistricting plans will be used to elect members of the [insert county name] County Board of Commissioners throughout the coming decade, and
WHEREAS the redistricting plans developed should accurately reflect the community’s composition and diversity and strengthen communities’ representation on the Commission, and
WHEREAS an open, participatory, and transparent redistricting process that encourages citizen input and uses such input to draw the maps leads to better community representation, and
WHEREAS such a process should facilitate public input and involvement in the redistricting process, protect the integrity of neighborhoods and communities, and respect the principles of the Voting Rights Act,
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Commissioners of [insert county name] County commit to establishing an open and participatory redistricting process that will adhere to the principles set out above and support citizen involvement in an open and transparent procedure throughout the upcoming 2021 redistricting process, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the process adopted should be one that promotes greater accountability and transparency and prohibits the consideration of voting patterns, party registration information, and incumbents’ residential addresses, and that uses demographic information only to the extent necessary to ensure minority participation as required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the commission commit to adopting an open and transparent redistricting process that includes: i) firm timelines announced well in advance, prompt communication of draft plans, ii) prompt posting of maps and other information on an accessible website and publication in local news outlets, iii) well-promoted public hearings on the maps, and iv) citizen access to redistricting tools and mechanisms to submit comments and proposals related to the proposed maps;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution should be announced publicly as a testament to the Commission’s commitment to an open and participatory process that informs and engages the public; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the [insert county name] County Board of Commissioners also encourages the NC General Assembly to adopt procedures for the 2021 legislative and Congressional redistricting embodying the above principles, processes, and measures in order to secure our citizens’ right to participate fully and effectively in the 2021 redistricting process.
EXAMPLES OF POTENTIAL ORGANIZATIONAL ENDORSERS
COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY
COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY
COUNTY LIBERTARIAN PARTY
CITY AND COUNTY CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS
CITY AND COUNTY CHAMBERS AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS
CITY AND COUNTY RACIAL JUSTICE ORGANIZATONS
CITY- AND COUNTY-BASED INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION
COUNTY PASTORS COALLITION
COUNTY VFWS COUNTY GREEK SORORITIES/FRATERNITIES
When your county commission endorses the Fair Redistricting Resolution they should announce redistricting steps that involve community input to the process. Here is an example of county commission steps for redistricting in 2021. The dates for each step need to be adjusted for the needs of your county. Work with your county commission to determine steps and planned dates.
Read more here about asking for an open, transparent county redistricting process.
County Commission Redistricting Steps (Sample)
Thanks for helping citizens’ voices to be heard in the 2021 redistricting!