During the week of Sept. 25, the N.C. General Assembly offered three opportunities for people to come forward to offer testimony, as they will be redrawing districts this year for the U.S. House, N.C. House and N.C. Senate races in 2024. The closest venue to Asheville was in Hickory. Below is an edited version of my comments:
I consider myself to be a voting rights advocate. I have been involved for many years with a number of nonpartisan organizations, both in the North Carolina mountains and statewide, working to advocate for better access to voting for all eligible to vote, as well as fair maps. I am here today, traveling about 75 minutes from my home in the west, to ask this committee and the N.C. General Assembly to do one thing: Please create fair maps.
I define fair maps as those that provide opportunities for all who wish to run for office a realistic chance for election and for voters to have real chances to elect someone who shares their values. When unfair maps are created, too many races for office are predetermined, with one political party and candidate having a significantly better chance to win than their opponents.
In a state that is considered “purple,” it should mean that delegations from North Carolina to the U.S. House should be close to evenly divided. In fact, in 2022, the number of Democrats and Republicans elected were evenly divided — seven from each party. Will that be the case after the 2024 election?
In a democracy, it is important to have all opinions expressed, respected and considered. I am concerned that that will not be the case when maps are drawn for both the N.C. General Assembly and U.S. House this year.
As a person of faith, I ask you to have faith in democracy and the people of this state and draw maps that give people real choices.
— Ron Katz