State lawmakers returning to Raleigh next year now have a big job to do: redrawing their own districts. A unanimous court ruling mandated the legislature redraw maps and hold special elections in November of 2017. This comes after the same court found the Republican-dominated legislature’s maps unconstitutional for racial gerrymandering. Democratic Representative Brian Turner of Buncombe County says this latest ruling re-emphasizes the need for independent redistricting.
“There's a long history of both parties doing a lot of damage through gerrymandering. And it’s time we put that past behind us and we look for a way that's more equitable for everybody.”
This will be the second time Republicans in the legislature have had to modify the maps they drew. A special election was held earlier this year for Congressional districts for the same reason. The latest maps will need to be drawn by mid-March. And it means lawmaker elected to two-year terms will have their terms cut by a year. Turner says he worries about election fatigue.
"We have an election in '16. Then we're looking at an election in '17. And then we're potentially looking at another election in '18. And so what effectively this does is put us in a never-ending cycle of 'campaign.' And it really begins to wear people down. It really, I think, distracts from a lot of folks trying to get the work of government done."
Turner was surprisingly unopposed for re-election in November when Republicans failed to field a candidate against him, despite Turner winning just narrowly to take office two years ago.