CODE RED Redistricting
North Carolina will soon begin drawing new district maps at every level. It is critically important that Communities of Color be involved, as the redistricting process impacts our ability to build and maintain independent political power, and advance the issues that impact our communities daily.
CODE RED, our redistricting education program, offers training and resources to help our community to understand and monitor the redistricting process and become more effective advocates for fair maps.
Voting Rights Historical Timeline
Take a journey through Black voting rights from 1865-2021 to connect the past to the present. This historical timeline demonstrates how the impact of Black voting rights is the same, just a new year. Hover over a time period to pause the slide
Emancipation and Reconstruction (1863-1877)
- Within 5 years after emancipation, African-Americans were winning elections across the nation. In North Carolina, it is recorded that 187 African-Americans were elected to state and local offices during this period, including one US Congressional seat.
- To quelch the rapid ascension of African-Americans to political power, the majority party determined to redistrict African-Americans into single districts. One example in North Carolina was the “Black Second” congressional district, which packed African-Americans from Northeastern and coastal counties into a single district. Between 1868 and 1898, this ensured consistent African-American majority wins in this district, but severely limited Black voting power across the state.
Voting Rights Act (1965)
Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) was passed in 1965 to ensure that African-Americans would not be targeted in redistricting. This also offered federal provisions to fight voter suppression.
Repeal of the Voting Rights Act (2013)
- In 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a key component of the VRA which had required states with a history of voter suppression to acquire “pre-clearance” from the federal government for new voting plans.
- Two hours after this decision, lawmakers in TX announced that they would move forward with gerrymandered redistricting plans, as well legislation to require voter ID.
- Three weeks later, North Carolina followed suit, passing legislation that would become widely known as the “Monster Voter Suppression Bill.” Parts of this law were later struck down, with the court saying it targeted Black and brown voters “with surgical precision.”
Delays in Census Data (2021)
- NC legislature passes SB 722. The bill allows for—but does not require—the delay of county and municipal elections scheduled for 2021, in light of the delay in Census data needed for local redistricting.
- Local bodies will have a short time frame to redraw election districts. This may lead to unfair districts and the ultimate dilution of Black votes. However, the delay creates more time for local redistricting than there would have been without SB 722. This could mean more time for public comment on redistricting plans.
Session 1: From Census to Redistricting
This session provided grounding in the history of political resistance and resilience among communities of color in NC, and help participants develop an understanding of the importance of the census and redistricting toward the building of political power.
Session 2: Gerrymandering and the Levels of Redistricting
This session expanded participants’ understanding of the implications of the census for the redistricting process at the federal, state and local levels. Participants also learned how the manipulation of district maps—gerrymandering— has been used to dilute political power among communities of color, and the legislative proposals to correct this problem.
Session 3: Intersections of Redistricting
This session explored several critical policy issues facing communities of color and the role the redistricting process plays in solving or exacerbating them. Participants also learned of options to advocate for issue-based redistricting reforms.
Session 4: Redistricting in Practice
This session deepened participants’ understanding of the map-drawing process and provided tools for participants to monitor their local redistricting processes.
CODE RED: Back Porch Conversation
This redistricting cycle, community input will be critical to ensuring fair maps at the county and local levels. In this special session of CODE RED, we heard from Attorney Angus Thompson and Commissioner Leroy Johnson about the ways community organizers, faith leaders, and litigators have worked together in Robeson County and in Mississippi to ensure equitable redistricting processes.
Attorneys, Join the Fight!
We need attorneys to join the fight to maintain fair redistricting maps in North Carolina. If interested, please sign up. After signing up you will receive the scheduled dates and times for our upcoming sessions.