As Redistricting Efforts Surge, Voter Confusion Likely

As Redistricting Efforts Surge, Voter Confusion Likely

3:26pm Jun 15, 2015
Legislators are considering a bill that would reduce the size of the Greensboro council from nine to seven members and would redraw the district lines.
City of Greensboro

A bill that would restructure Greensboro’s city council got the state Senate’s stamp of approval last week–just one of several issues that have put a spotlight on redistricting this year.

From local government all the way up to U.S. Congress members, the state’s political boundaries have been shifting, and opponents of the changes have been speaking out.

John Dinan is an expert on state politics at Wake Forest University. He says controversy over political lines is nothing new. But in recent years the focus has gotten more intense.

“This was not an issue many people specialized in 15 years ago,” he says. “And now we see people whose specialty is commenting on and keeping up to speed on issues concerning state and local districts.”

Dinan says the changes can lead to confusion for voters, especially when it affects local races.

“Whenever changes get made, there’s an adjustment period, there’s an educational period to take place. And that’s difficult – it’s particularly difficult at the local level because citizens don’t pay quite as much attention to local politics as they do to other politics,” he says.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed the state’s congressional districts and sent them back to North Carolina’s highest court for review. That doesn’t necessarily mean the lines will be redrawn – the court could decide to keep them as they are. It is expected to hear arguments in the case in August.

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