Get rid of gerrymandering

Published 9:55 am Thursday, August 3, 2017

To the Editor:

Below is a letter that I sent to all members of the NC General Assembly, the Governor, and Lieutenant Governor on redistricting.

I would like to thank you for your service to your fellow North Carolinians. I realize that you are elected by people in a specific district and your primary interest is in their welfare, but once you take the oath of office whatever you do impacts all the citizens of North Carolina.

With all this hullabaloo over redistricting or rather should I say districting? It is apparent that we have a problem with districting in North Carolina. Nobody can seem to get it right! The whole problem with districting is gerrymandering. Whomever has control, be it Democrat or Republican, of the NC General Assembly after each census gerrymanders the districts to benefit their party, Gerrymandering has got to be removed from all districts.

Removing gerrymandering is very simple. For the State of North Carolina you start in the northeast corner of the state and draw a district that is as close as possible to square that contains an equal amount of voters, plus or minus two percent, as the remaining districts of the state will contain. The remaining districts of the state will follow by having districts that are as close to square as possible.

When it comes to counties and cities, the mold for districts and wards has been set by the state’s square districts starting in the northeast corner of the county or city! There should be no elongated or squiggly districts such as our second district!

I highly recommend that we utilize some sort of districting as outlined above. A method such as outlined is non-partisan and non-racial. The district will strictly be based on population. Not only will the districts be based on population they will be based on population in a closely related geographical area no more running from Timbuctoo to Timbuctoo within a district. No longer will the population in a district have a candidate that lives in the district that will be some 100 miles away! Candidates should be better known in their own district than many are today!

I thank you for your service to your fellow North Carolinians.

Note: Not contained in the letter are three comments that I have made to those from the NC General Assembly who have responded to my letter: 1) redistricting is the responsibility of the NC General Assembly and should not be handed off to an independent committee outside the NC General Assembly; 2) transferring the NC General Assembly’s responsibility to an independent committee is a waste of money which there are some in the NC General Assembly and the public who likes to waste money; 3) we elected the members of the NC General Assembly because we believed that they had integrity but if they are unable to reach a non-partisan solution to the redistricting then their integrity comes into question!

Ray Shamlin

Rocky Mount