Informed, not confused, voters

Published 8:41 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018


If North Carolina voters are confused when it comes to elections this year, it’s understandable and unfortunate.

It’s understandable because there are legal issues surrounding redistricting matters related to North Carolina’s congressional districts. There are legal issues surrounding redistricting matters related to North Carolina’s legislative districts for the North Carolina General Assembly. A federal judge this week issued a partial preliminary injunction in a case involving judicial elections in the state.

As for the congressional redistricting and state legislative redistricting cases, federal judges decided that in both cases the North Carolina General Assembly (controlled by Republicans) violated the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina Constitution when it drew new district lines for congressional districts and state legislative districts.

Republicans contend those new districts were fine. Democrats disagreed. Lawsuits were filed. It seems as if something new with those lawsuits develops every week.

A court reaches a decision that favors the plaintiffs. The defendants decided to appeal to a higher court. Often, it’s difficult for the average voter to understand what’s going on.

It’s the same scenario when it comes to judicial elections in the state.

Adding to the confusion is that Beaufort County, for now, will be in new state House and state Senate districts when the 2018 general election arrives in November. Under a redistricting plan approved by the General Assembly last year, and challenged in court, Beaufort County and northern Craven County would be combined to form District 79 in the N.C. House of Representatives. It would have no incumbent representative. Also, Beaufort County would be removed from the current state Senate District 1, represented by Sen. Bill Cook, a Beaufort County Republican, and placed into a District 3, which would include Martin, Bertie, Warren, Vance and Northampton counties. Democrat Erica D. Smith represents the current District 3, which includes Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Hertford, Martin, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

That’s a lot for voters to keep up with, and that’s unfortunate.

Voters should be informed, not confused.