Ross, Adams, Manning, Jackson, Nickel, Davis, & Foushee Introduce Legislation to Enhance Redistricting Transparency and Accountability in NC and Nationwide

Legislation introduced after North Carolina Republicans enacted extreme, gerrymandered maps

January 25, 2024

Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) led all members of the North Carolina Democratic congressional delegation, including Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), Kathy Manning (NC-06), Jeff Jackson (NC-14), Wiley Nickel (NC-13), Don Davis (NC-01), and Valerie Foushee (NC-04), in introducing the Redistricting Transparency and Accountability Act. The legislation comes after a partisan, secretive redistricting process in which North Carolina Republicans reconfigured the balanced, fair Congressional and General Assembly maps in place for the 2022 election. Representatives Ross, Nickel, and Foushee were joined by North Carolina Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue and State House Representative Joe John to announce the bill at a press conference today in Raleigh.

Among other necessary reforms, the legislation would establish extensive opportunities for public input in redistricting decisions, require disclosures regarding individuals and groups that participate in the map-drawing process, and designate criteria to ensure transparency in mapmaking—including the publication of criteria used to draw maps and analysis of how any proposed map would impact certain diverse populations.

Click here for bill text and click here for a one-pager on the bill.

“North Carolina is a purple state, and we finally have a Congressional delegation that reflects the rich ideological and racial diversity of our great state,” said Congresswoman Ross. “Behind closed doors and with scant public input, North Carolina Republicans have effectively silenced voters’ voices by enacting egregiously gerrymandered maps. North Carolinians of tired of their votes being as political pawns for partisan gain. That’s why I am proud to lead the North Carolina Democratic delegation in introducing legislation that would reform this backward process – not just in North Carolina, but in states across the country where partisan and racial gerrymandering threaten the strength and vitality of our democracy.”

“I am proud to be co-leading the Redistricting Transparency and Accountability Act. Like many states, in North Carolina the judiciary has surrendered the voting rights of the people to nefarious and cynically partisan forces, letting the state legislature choose their voters and disenfranchise the people of our state,” said Congresswoman Adams. “Gerrymandering darkens democracy. This legislation would promote transparency by turning on the lights and clearing the smoke-filled chambers, revitalizing our democratic republic. The Redistricting Transparency and Accountability Act is about fair elections and fair fights. As the Dean of North Carolina’s Congressional Democrats, I will uphold the principle that you choose us, not the other way around. I will defend your civil rights, including your sacred right to vote in free and fair elections. Fair elections are a hallmark of any democratic republic. Who’s afraid of a fair fight?”

“Last year, the North Carolina state legislature passed egregiously gerrymandered Congressional maps. They split up communities of interests and manipulated districts with surgical precision to dilute Democratic votes – and they did it all behind closed doors,” said Congresswoman Manning. “North Carolina is a perfect example of why the Redistricting Transparency and Accountability Act is a necessary piece of legislation. I’m proud to join my fellow North Carolina Democratic colleagues in introducing this vital legislation to increase the public’s participation and allow greater transparency in the map-drawing process.”

“In a time when public trust in government is declining, North Carolinians deserve a fair and transparent congressional redistricting process that ensures that every voice and every vote is heard and accounted for,” said Congressman Nickel. “By demanding more transparency in the redistricting process, we can restore fairness and trust in democracy. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Ross and members of the North Carolina delegation in introducing the Redistricting Transparency and Accountability Act today, and will continue to fight with every ounce of my energy for fair maps, an end to partisan gerrymandering, and to protect the right to vote for every single North Carolinian.”

“Redistricting can completely determine the outcome of elections for a decade. The public deserves transparent information throughout the process,” said Congressman Jackson. “I’m proud to join Rep. Ross and my colleagues in Congress to push for a more open redistricting process.”

“Redistricting is a critical component to our democratic process, yet time and time again, hyper-partisan state legislatures manipulate voting maps to manufacture future election outcomes, diluting the voices of voters and violating the values this nation was built upon,” said Congresswoman Foushee. “North Carolinians and the American people deserve better, and I’m proud to join the North Carolina Democratic delegation in introducing long overdue redistricting reforms that will help hold state legislatures accountable, increase transparency, and provide opportunities for public involvement during the redistricting process.” 

“Republican lawmakers have gotten more brash in their efforts to draw themselves into perpetual power, regardless of the will of the voters,” said Leader Blue. “The partisan games have to end. Whether you’re progressive or conservative, Democrat or Republican, everyone should support redistricting reforms that hold mapmakers accountable, and promote transparency in the process.” 

“The history of the 2023 legislative process which produced new Congressional, State Senate and State House electoral maps clearly illustrates why this new federal law is both necessary and appropriate,” said Representative John. “The NC maps were drafted in absolute secret by a handful of majority party legislators with only minimal public input permitted—and only before the maps were released.  Because of another law passed last fall by the majority party, that process is now insulated even from public record inquiries and thus remains secret.”