Opening the discussion: Examining the flaws in Chatham County’s electoral system

By Rick Brownfield

Pittsboro, NC – I am not surprised when hearing the comments of probable members of the Democratic Party in response to the release of the proposed Congressional Districts in North Carolina.  I am sure that the threatened lawsuits have been in draft since the NC Supreme Court decided that the legislative branch and not the executive branch or judicial branch was what the NC Constitution actually requires for this critical government action.

The idea that the rascally Republicans gerrymandered Chatham County and that the Democrats would preserve election integrity and reduce voter suppression by not splitting the county is laughable.  

Why would this be?  

The perfect comparison is how the current Commissioners and School Board Districts are used to suppress votes and deny equal representation to all voters in the county.  The use of At-Large voting for all Commissioners is actually a gerrymander that doesn’t need to redraw district lines

The effect of At-Large is the same as the packing and stacking that the Democrats allege in the new District map.  Numerous civil rights organizations have stated that At-Large voting is one of the last vestiges of Jim Crow, and that it is the perfect mechanism to insure that a politically homogeneous Board of Commissioners is elected every election cycle even though the county electorate is in fact politically, economically, racially, and culturally diverse.

Examine the results of past elections in Chatham County and you will find that, except for one election, five or six of the Precincts in the county determine the outcome of County Elections.  It is so egregious that you can probably just count the Democratic Party vote in only those critical precincts and then count the Republican from the remaining districts and the Republican vote from the five or six precincts in order for the Democratic candidates to win.

At-Large voting is illegal in Federal Elections. Just imagine the outrage that would erupt if all NC Members of Congress were elected At-Large! No single member districts, no Civil Rights legislation, and the winners are the candidates that gain the most votes state-wide. There would be wall to wall lawsuits originating from the entire political spectrum!

If we elect members of the US Congress using single member districts to insure one person / one vote without suppression, then we should elect Commissioners and School Board Members using single member districts.

Agree or disagree, but we need to talk about this.