At NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, we recognize that robust voting rights and fair elections are necessary to securing reproductive freedom for all North Carolinians. Whether we are advocating for abortion rights; equitable access to contraception and prenatal care; affordable child care; or paid family leave, we know that our right to equitably access the ballot box to choose our elected officials is a key component of citizen advocacy, no matter the issue. A robust government of the people that allows for the exchange of ideas and truly values the input of diverse voices will lead us to a more just, equitable and democratic society.

Unfortunately, partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts robs us of a government by the people; instead creating a government that is barely responsive to everyday citizens as it positions itself to coast by indefinitely on safe districts and uncontested races. When candidates are regularly running unchallenged in general elections; and lawmakers in “safe” districts believe they have some kind of mandate simply because they were drawn districts that cater to their ideology, we are left with a legislative body that feels compelled only to respond to other elected and government officials and special interests inside the building, while ignoring the voices of the constituents outside of the building who rightly feel they have been left without any representation, and that the system has been rigged against them.

Despite the narrative of extreme polarization in our society, many North Carolinians share similar values. They believe in a living wage; that workers should be protected from discrimination; the expansion of health care access; the protection of reproductive rights, including abortion and contraception access; and free and fair elections, including independent redistricting. Rather than the opportunity for robust policy debate on issues, we have gerrymandered our way to a government by, of and for extremists. And this is not what democracy looks like.

We have long known that the majority of North Carolinians support access to safe and legal abortion, and oppose government interference in such personal decisions. Yet that is not reflected in our General Assembly due to unconstitutional gerrymandering of districts designed to give unchecked power to just one political party, rather than honoring the plurality viewpoints of North Carolinians on reproductive rights and other issues.

We call on the NC General Assembly to help us take our democracy back, and finally draw fair maps, so we again have elected officials who are chosen by voters; rather than elected officials who chose their voters.

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