Fair maps, equal representation, a must for NC

Published October 19, 2023

By Capitol Broadcasting Company

Fair Maps-Fair Elections. End Gerrymandering Now

EDITOR'S NOTE: Wiley Nickel is serving his first term in U.S. Representative from North Carolina's 13th District which includes Wake, Wayne, Johnston and Harnett counties. Nickel, a Democrat, previously served two terms in the state Senate representing Wake County.

Last year, North Carolina voters sent seven Democrats and seven Republicans to the United States House of Representatives under fair, court-drawn maps for our 50/50 state. North Carolina’s 13th District, which I'm proud to represent in Congress, is the state's only true swing district.

Now, the state legislature is set to draw new maps for 2024. As this process begins to play out, it's imperative that North Carolinians have a fair shot to make their voices heard at the ballot box and deserve fair maps and equal representation.

I’ve seen the first-hand effects of partisan gerrymandering. In nearly every state, partisan gerrymandering has been used as a tool by politicians to manipulate electoral outcomes with almost surgical precision.

This leads to hyper-partisanship, increased polarization and disenfranchises voters. It’s the reason why we have such chaos and confusion in Congress with extreme MAGA Republicans fighting a civil war with conservative Republicans and booting the former Speaker of the House.

In Congress there’s a lot we can do to make it easier for people to vote and participate in our democracy. It starts with passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.

These common sense bills would end partisan gerrymandering, expand voting by mail, protect early voting, help get big money out of our elections, combat dark money, support election integrity and make additional reforms to improve ballot access.

It doesn't matter who's doing it -- Democrats or Republicans -- partisan gerrymandering is bad for democracy. That's why it’s time to end the practice and put in place a non-partisan and independent redistricting commission in every state.

By removing the ability of politicians to draw district lines in their favor, we can restore fairness and ensure that voters are the ones choosing their politicians and not the other way around.

Earlier this year, voters and American democracy got a milestone victory when the United States Supreme Court rejected the fringe independent state legislature theory that misguidedly asserted that state legislatures have sole authority to establish federal election laws without review by state courts or governors.

The ruling in Moore vs. Harper was a resounding victory for democracy and a clear affirmation that the power to choose elected officials lies in the hands of the people, not politicians. The Supreme Court’s ruling also reinforces the need for constitutional checks and balances, the cornerstone of our democracy.

It reminds us that no branch of government should be granted unlimited power. We must remain vigilant and guard against any attempt to undermine the principles upon which our nation was founded.

It's important to note that this is not a left, right, or center issue. I don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent. I don't care who you vote for, where you live, or what you believe in.

What I care about, and what I want everyone to know, is that your vote matters. Your voice counts.

That’s why I want to firmly and definitively state: Voters should choose their politicians. Politicians shouldn’t choose their voters.

Let’s work together to fight for fair maps, end partisan gerrymandering, and protect the right to vote for every single North Carolinian.

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