Democracy Lab Students Create ‘Fair’ NC Districts

A team of students working in this semester’s Democracy Lab class have created new congressional districts for North Carolina that they say are fairer than the district lines enacted by the General Assembly.

The students write:

Every decade, following the U.S. census, new congressional and state districts are created in order to accurately reflect any changes in population demographics. In North Carolina, this task is completed by state legislatures; since the release of the 2010 census, much political and legal debate has surrounded the various maps that have been drawn by state legislatures.

Many state legislatures have engaged in partisan gerrymandering, through which the majority party draws districts to maximize their party’s political advantage. Specifically in the case of North Carolina, the state’s Supreme Court recently deemed the current map unconstitutional on the grounds of disproportionate partisan gerrymandering. However, the federal judges ruled that there was insufficient time to redraw the maps prior to the 2018 midterm elections, and so the unconstitutionally gerrymandered maps remain in place.

Given this reality, our team created a non-partisan gerrymandered map of North Carolina’s thirteen congressional districts before the midterms. We intend to run the official election data over our map and compare these outcomes with that of the current map. We hope this analysis will highlight the true impact of partisan gerrymandering on our democratic process.