'WNC Against Judicial Gerrymandering' rally in downtown Asheville Monday
Local voting rights group Democracy NC led a Pack Square rally in opposition to what it is calling lawmakers’ attack on North Carolina courts.
State lawmakers returned to Raleigh this week to take up House Bill 717, a bill that would change the districts used to elect judges and prosecutors in North Carolina. On Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, Democracy North Carolina held a rally in Pack Square Park in opposition to this legislation.
A boisterous group of about 50 gathered in pack Square park, their signs saying it all.
The group does not like gerrymandering, the movement of electoral boundaries to favor one political party or class of people.
"The judicial redistricting reform deserves a thorough, deliberative and thoughtful process," one speaker said.
But at this point, it's up to the Republican-controlled Legislature in Raleigh, which has made it clear it wants district lines redrawn.
Buncombe County GOP chairman Carl Mumpower said it's about time.
"Raleigh's challenging that, and our young conformists are out here trying to maintain it. That's a real ironic situation in a community like ours," Mumpower said.
"The people should elect their representation, not the representatives. That's really what gerrymandering's all about," another person said.
From time to time, protesters broke off into groups, small discussions to better understand a big issue.
"I always suggest that an independent committee should be who's drawing these maps. It shouldn't be Republicans. It shouldn't be Democrats and it doesn't matter what party that you're with," Leicester resident Taylor Breeden said.
The House approved HB717 along party lines after Democrat Susan Fisher tried to stop any change for Buncombe County. The bill is yet to be heard in the Senate.
Sponsoring organizations included Asheville-Buncombe NAACP, the ACLU, Campaign for Southern Equality, Carolina Jews for Justice, Common Cause Asheville, Indivisible (Asheville and Transylvania Counties), The League of Women Voters, Mountain Peoples Assembly, and Our Revolution.