This article originally appeared in the Greensboro News & Record “Counterpoint,” on 8/10/11
Recently the state legislature crafted a redistricting plan for the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. Unfortunately, most of the awareness has been created by the plan’s opponents, whose shrieking, hyperbolic letters are much ado about nothing. The fact that the new lines were drawn by Republicans may, indeed, be sufficient to elicit apoplectic fits from elements of the far Left, but rational observers—those who actually examine the plan—are likely to be surprised by its fairness. Here are a few facts worth considering:
The new plan meets the criteria established by the Voting Rights Act. There are three majority-minority districts, in which black candidates will be heavily favored to win.
The five remaining districts preserve the integrity of existing precinct lines, which, under previous Democrat-drawn plans, were significantly altered. These five districts are also designed to reflect the party affiliation of voters within each district: approximately 40 percent Democratic, 35 percent Republican, and 25 percent Libertarian and unaffiliated. Within each of the five, there is a proper balance between rural and urban precincts. The balanced approach in these districts will facilitate lively discussion and a fair exchange of ideas, which should result in increased participation from the electorate.
By any objective measure, the GOP’s redistricting plan for the county is fair and reasonable. Liberals, statists, and collectivists vehemently object, it seems, for one simple, but irrational reason: Republicans drew the lines. The plan’s detractors are accustomed to Democratic domination of the General Assembly, a century-long “status quo” overthrown by conservatives–not strictly Republicans–in November. Perhaps this is the true source of their displeasure.
Charles Davenport Jr. (email@example.com) is a freelance writer in Greensboro, NC.