Choosing Legislators or Choosing Voters?
By State Senator Patrick Ballantine
November 24, 2003
One of our basic rights as American citizens is the right to choose our
representatives. Unfortunately, the Democrat politicians in Raleigh are
doing everything in their power to disenfranchise North Carolina voters.
The North Carolina Constitution states very clearly that no county
shall be divided in the formation of legislative districts. In 2002,
the Democrats divided 70 counties in the House map and 51 counties in
the Senate map.
Dividing these counties is unconstitutional gerrymandering of
legislative districts, which drastically reduced the number of
legislative districts where voters truly have a choice at the ballot
box. In the Democrat politicians 2002 redistricting plans, only 20
districts out of 170 were viewed as competitive, and 101 incumbent
legislators were totally unopposed. Legislators were literally choosing
their voters, rather than the voters choosing their legislators.
Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly took the lead against
unconstitutional legislative gerrymandering in 2001 by filing a lawsuit
which was upheld by every state and federal court, including the United
States Supreme Court.
Unfortunately, Democrat politicians have spent millions of taxpayer
dollars fighting this redistricting lawsuit in order to protect their
power and remain unaccountable to the voters of this state. Democrats
will continue to employ their strategy of obstruct and delay even if it
means delaying the 2004 primary to once again make our votes on
Election Day meaningless.
This week, the General Assembly will be voting on new redistricting
maps for our state. As Republican Leader of the N.C. Senate, and a lead
plaintiff on the redistricting lawsuit, I want to encourage all
fair-minded citizens to unite on this issue. Let your legislators know
that it is the people of North Carolina who have the right to choose
their representatives -- NOT the other way around.
Most importantly, members of the Legislature need to hear from the
folks back home. The telephone number at the N.C. General Assembly is
919-733-4111. Please call now and tell your legislators to vote NO on
any unconstitutional redistricting maps.
(Patrick Ballantine is a 10-year veteran of the North Carolina Senate
and has served as Republican Leader of the N.C. Senate for 5 years.)