The City Council plans to approve newly drawn City Council districts for the 2022 election at its Monday, Nov. 1 meeting.
But there doesn’t appear to be any support for the map recommended by the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee.
The City Council – instead of approving “Pie-Shaped Version 2 Draft Map” that received six votes from committee members – is poised to approve a last minute map, “Moderate Change 2 Draft Map,” drawn by and supported by only one committee member, Marlen Sanford representing the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (TREBIC).
One of the main reasons given by the City Council for not supporting the recommendation of the overwhelming majority of the Citizens’ Committee at the public hearing on the maps on Oct. 19 was the issue of voter confusion caused by moving 26 precincts from their current districts to a different district.
And there is a lot of confusion about what it means to move people from one council district to another.
During the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee meetings, one member expressed concern about people in a different district not knowing where to vote.
At the Oct. 19 City Council meeting Councilmember Sharon Hightower expressed the same concern.
In speaking with Mayor Nancy Vaughan about the redistricting process, she mentioned how upset voters were in one election when they were told they could no longer vote in their usual polling place but had to walk across the street to vote.
The main concern expressed during the City Council meeting about the “Pie Shaped” map that the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee recommended was that it “moved” nearly 78,000 voters and that would cause a lot of voter confusion. The moderate change map by comparison would only “move” about 14,000 voters.
The reality is that redrawing the City Council district lines doesn’t move a single voter. Those voting in the City Council race will vote at the same polling place they would have if they hadn’t been “moved.”
The redistricting will not “move” any voters. What it will do is change the names on the ballot for one race – the district City Council race.
Those who follow City Council elections closely agree that the vast majority of residents of Greensboro are not certain which City Council district they live in. And it is also true that the vast majority of registered voters in Greensboro don’t vote in City Council elections.
In the 2017 municipal primary elections in Guilford County, which includes all the municipalities in the county and not just Greensboro, 8.49 percent of registered voters cast a ballot according to the North Carolina Board of Elections.
In the 2017 general election for municipalities in Guilford County 14.8 percent of registered voters cast a ballot according to the North Carolina Board of Elections.
So while changing the council district for over 70,000 voters might sound like it would cause a lot of voter confusion, it shouldn’t cause any voter confusion for about 85 percent of those voters because it is not likely they will be voting.