The darned 2020 Census remains incomplete, and the redistricting process cannot move forward until the 2020 Census numbers are delivered to 1) Congress, who will reapportion the 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats among our 50 states; and 2) state legislatures, who will draw election district lines – “the maps.”
With Census 2020 conducted amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, it should not surprise that there was a good bit of chaos. The lockdown and social distancing caused havoc with the enumeration process – workers who were unable to go door-to-door to gather data from those who’d failed to respond online, by phone, or by mail. Second – though no less a disruption – was incessant meddling by the White House. The delivery dates on which data was to be delivered – for Apportionment (December 31) and Redistricting (April 1) – were expected to be late – and they were. Then further delay. And delay once again. Apportionment may be complete mid-summer – when we’ll learn if North Carolina got a 14th district. Final data will not reach the states until September 30! Five months late!
And that timing makes it impossible to hold most 2021 elections in 2021.
Be that as it may, maps will still be drawn this year. Now, we wait – to see HOW the majority party in the North Carolina General Assembly decides to draw the maps for the next decade. We’re hoping for a robust series of public hearings on DRAFT maps, and that comments by the public will receive prompt and considered response. And finally, that maps will be as fair as possible…with no racial or partisan overtones and undercurrents.
What we really, really, really hope does NOT come to pass is more of this –
If ever there was a time to become actively involved in your democracy, it has arrived on your doorstep. The “yet-to-be-drawn” maps will impact our daily lives for the next decade in dozens of ways – jobs, education, access to health care, clean air and water, housing, public safety, and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.