In the state code, there are several options for County Structuring of Elections for County Counsels.
There are 4 different options and all but one could have the effect of entrenching one political party …and in the case of Orange County…it could last forever. I have forwarded this two both NC senators of Wake as they should share an interest (as should Durham) in the make up of Orange County’s board …and I am suggesting a change in the code.
I do not know how many other Counties in the state could be in similar situations, but the entrenched structures of the Democrat party are still in full biased effect here so I have to assume they are employed elsewhere as well.
 

To: “Neal Hunt” <Neal.Hunt@ncleg.net>, “Richard Stevens” <Richard.Stevens@ncleg.net>
Cc: “Thom Tillis” <Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net>, “Phil Berger” <Phil.Berger@ncleg.net>
Sent: Thursday, February 2, 2012 9:13:17 AM
Subject: Gerrymandering of County Districts

Sirs,

 I have a problem, that in the mix of the Triangle Transit Authority, is a problem for your constituents of Wake as well.

My problem is with the structure of my county’s elections. Orange County…the last to vote on the Transit Tax for the Light Rail that will never expire.

There are two parts, one decidedly unfair but legal, and the other in light of a NCSC ruling not.

Per State code
§ 153A‑58. Optional structures.
A county may alter the structure of its board of commissioners by adopting one or any combination of the options prescribed by this section.
1,2…
(3) Mode of election of the board of commissioners:
a. The qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate all candidates for and elect all members of the board.
For options b, c, and d, the county shall be divided into electoral districts, and board members shall be apportioned to the districts so that the quotients obtained by dividing the population of each district by the number of commissioners apportioned to the district are as nearly equal as practicable.
b. The qualified voters of each district shall nominate candidates and elect members who reside in the district for seats apportioned to that district; and the qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate candidates and elect members apportioned to the county at large, if any.
c. The qualified voters of each district shall nominate candidates who reside in the district for seats apportioned to that district, and the qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate candidates for seats apportioned to the county at large, if any; and the qualified voters of the entire county shall elect all the members of the board.
d. Members shall reside in and represent the districts according to the apportionment plan adopted, but the qualified voters of the entire county shall nominate all candidates for and elect all members of the board.

This 3C is our method. It was voted in in the 2006 general election by what I deem slight of wording as I contend the general population did not realize they where to loose control of electing their district representatives in the plan which simply highlighted the expansion of the BOCC from Five to Seven. I discovered this in planning my campaign and the citizens I am meeting had no idea they voted to cede their control. Option C might be equitable IF the district lines were drawn proportionally. As it is one district has a 2:1 population advantage and a single party stronghold, thus the party determination of the lesser populated district is always predetermined. This is the legal part.

The districts are drawn such that the higher populated district also has a greater choice of candidates in the primary. NC Supreme Court ruled this mixing in violation of the NC Constitution per  Stephenson v. Bartlett in which the Court said in legislative races it is impermissible to have single-member and multi-member districts mixed together. Many contend that without Stephenson v. Bartlett, NC would have forever remained under a Democrat controlled Legislature

I cannot see why county districts should not also be held to this standard.

 Option B should be the method in Orange. As Orange has two school districts drawn on the same lines it is the only method available with out a redrawing of the lines. Option A still presents a problem via party stronghold and party dominance as the lines are drawn.


 Legislatively, I would ask that Option of  C and D (D again via gerrymandering/ single party dominance) be stricken from the law to prevent similar occurrences. Thus all counties in the state would utilize A(no districts) and B thus always providing for district representation on a County Board with out the influence of any other district due to some characteristic of that district.

I am exploring possible court remedies but this would only serve to make Orange a precedent for others have to follow and there is no guarantee that one of the other options not resurface and again skew the balance for any County. 

I think the entire state could benefit from this amending. I do not know how it would affect the other counties in the state, but certainly as NC has been dominated by single party rule for so long I would tend to think such change could only be positive for conservatives and bring parity to both parties at the base level.

As such, Orange County may revert to sea floor before a Republican is ever elected to the Board of Commissioners. And the collaborative progressive desires of our counties in union may run unchecked until then.


Please let me know your thoughts on this and any potential course of action.

Chris Weaver

Caldwell NC


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