NDRC Slams Republican Legislators for Preventing North Carolinians from Testifying on Rigged Maps

October 26, 2021

Raleigh, NC — Today, in Raleigh, NC, the Republican-led State House and Senate Redistricting Committees wrapped up four public hearings over the span of just two days. 

Many North Carolinians have reported that the sign up process to participate either online or in-person was confusing and difficult to navigate, leaving residents excluded from submitting their input publicly. The NDRC has compiled the testimony of numerous North Carolinians who tried but could not testify in a public hearing. Here’s one example

“One thing is clear from the ‘public hearings’ in Raleigh: Republicans are going out of their way to prevent the public from giving their input in the redistricting process. Due to lack of transparency, we will not know exactly how many North Carolinians were prevented from testifying at these hearings — both virtual and in-person. But we do know that it is outrageous that only 122 people out of a state of 10 million were allowed to comment on proposed maps that could determine who represents North Carolinians for the next decade,” said Lekha Shupeck, the NDRC’s State Director for North Carolina.

“We also know that these hearings were planned in a manner that prevented North Carolinians from participating, from the short notice and a confusing sign up process for an extremely limited number of speaking slots to scheduling in-person hearings during regular work hours. Those who were able to participate reported having to take time off of work, drive over an hour, and scramble for last-minute childcare in order to attend,” continued Shupeck.

“This entire process is extraordinarily anti-democratic and indicates that the committee chairs are terrified to hear what North Carolinians have to say. North Carolinians deserve better. They deserve more hearings in more locations across the state, they deserve to have their online comments made public, and at bare minimum, they deserve a chance to be heard,” added Shupeck.

Last week, the Republican-led House Redistricting Committee and the Senate Redistricting and Elections Committees announced they would hold four hearings — two in-person with remote sites and two online — on maps they have submitted. In that announcement they stated they would only permit 25 people to testify in-person per site and 30 to testify publicly in virtual hearings. As the NDRC’s State Director for North Carolina, Lekha Shupeck, pointed out, that’s only 210 people out of a state of 10 million who will be allowed to comment on the proposed maps brought forward by legislative leadership. 

Ahead of the hearings, North Carolinians were only given four days’ notice of the hearing schedule with in-person hearings scheduled in the middle of the work day and a sign-up process that many residents found to be confusing and difficult to navigate. North Carolinians were permitted to submit comments online, but those comments are not posted publicly, which calls into question whether or not the Committees consider them.