HB 149 & SB 1093Background and procedural information
House Bill 149 and Senate Bill 1093, which are currently in committee, propose to initiate a system under which citizens of North Carolina could submit districting plans. These plans are then scored for quality under defined criteria and at the end of a 90-day submission period, the plans with the highest score are adopted. If either of these bills is passed, it will then go onto the ballot as an initiative.
Under the proposed legislation, are single-member districts a requirement or otherwise implied?
Yes. Both bills explicitly require single-member districts.
Does the proposed legislation provide for Voting Rights Act compliance (e.g. can the commission use voter history information)?
Yes. Although neither bill mentions the Voting Rights Act, both require that all submitted plans comply with all federal law.
Under the proposed legislation, how is the commission formed?
Neither bill proposes to create a commission. H149 states that “an agency of the Executive branch” will be responsible for reviewing and scoring submitted plans. The bill does not state which agency this is, or how the members of that agency will be chosen. S1093 charges the Secretary of State with scoring the submitted plans.
Under the proposed legislation, are competitive districts favored?
Under the proposed legislation, can members of the public submit plans?
Yes. Both of these bills provide that North Carolina residents can submit redistricting plans at a fee of $100 per plan. This fee is waved for the plan deemed to be the “best” of the day. To be considered, the plan must follow three guidelines: 1) the districts must be contiguous, 2) all districts must be single-member, and 3) the districts must comply with federal law. All plans meeting these guidelines will then be scored according to a second set of guidelines. The plan that best meets the goals of the scoring system will be chosen as the new redistricting plan.
Does the proposed legislation allow for mid-decade redistricting?
No. Both plans allow redistricting only directly after the decennial census.
*Note: A proposal may be neutral on whether or not to favor competitive districts for a number of reasons, including that such a requirement may be thought to conflict with other criteria, potentially create other legal issues, or is assumed to flow from the new process itself -- or it might merely not be a priority for the legislative sponsors. FairVote believes that some form of proportional voting is needed to ensure maximum competitiveness for each seat and to ensure meaningful choices for all voters.