I climbed the stairs of the building that was once Midwood High School toward the room that the League of Women Voters of Charlotte uses to hold meetings. A former classroom, rich with the very history that many of us now use as a guidebook, is a fitting space to gather for this meeting. The voices started in a low hum but before NC Senator Jeff Jackson entered the room, conversation had grown to a cheery buzz with the spirit of amiable conversation. The room quickly filled up.
This is a meeting I looked forward to for a long time because this is how we are going to take back the right to govern ourselves with fairly elected officials here in North Carolina.
Do you know the reason that the GOP has the majority of the NC House and NC Senate when North Carolina is so evenly divided between progressives and conservatives? The GOP majority drew the districting lines. And they did so with racial bias. In 2011, they ensured that districts around several major cities in NC would have Republican elected officials by employing unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. They packed African-American voters into some districts and reduced their voting power in others. Gerrymandering has reduced Democrat seats to 15 even though the state is half registered Democrat.
Last year, a Federal Court ordered fair redistricting to be completed by March 2017 and a special NC election to be held in November 2017. Then our very own GOP-led NC government filed an appeal to stop it last year. We are now waiting to hear from the US Supreme Court as to whether or not the redistricting and election will move forward this year.
Does this make you angry? It should.
But here is our chance to make a change.
If the redistricting moves forward as anticipated, NC Senator Jeff Jackson has a Gameplan that you can participate in. With your help, we can turn up enough Democratic voters to flip at least three seats in our favor and allow Governor Roy Cooper the opportunity to veto some of the far-right agenda from our state legislature. JUST THREE SEATS will break up the supermajority. We can do that, right?
Redistricting will affect most of the metropolitan areas of North Carolina. Senator Jackson’s Gameplan will identify the most likely districts in which Democrats can win seats and allow us to help support candidates there. Wake County is the best chance to overturn the supermajority in the House and Senate. But here in Mecklenburg County, we have 18 legislative seats alone.
Here’s what you can do:
- Participate in the digital Get Out the Vote effort. You can share informative infographics provided by Gameplan 2017 to let folks know about the special election and redistricting.
- Recruit strong candidates. Who do you know that may be interested in running for office? Since the website’s launch, more than 200 potential candidates have stepped forward.
- Volunteer to support candidates. We will need people to work in every area from campaign managers to fundraising to phone banking. Training is available if you are interested. This active base of volunteers from all over the state will allow these prospective candidates to hit the ground running.
- Donate. Collective fundraising will allow the budgeting focus to be on the top most likely to swing cities. You can support highly competitive candidates in the closest races across NC. The fund will be “highly strategic in making the difficult decisions about which candidates have the best chance of winning.” You can donate online and specify your funds to help the House or the Senate.
This is a totally tangible effort that we can participate in to change the face of North Carolina politics. Let’s get to work!
=======================================================================================The views expressed on this blog are mine alone and not necessarily those of Greater CAN RISE NC