The Greensboro City Council unanimously approved the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee without knowing who is on that committee.
At the Tuesday, Aug. 31 meeting the City Council approved the seven-member redistricting committee knowing the race and gender of the appointees but nothing else about them. It may be the first time the City Council has ever appointed a committee not knowing the name of a single member.
Mac McCarley, an attorney with Parker Poe who has been hired by the City Council to oversee the redistricting process, said that the seven-member committee was made up of two white females, two black males, one black female, one Latina female and one white male.
At the work session on Aug. 26 several city councilmembers objected when they were told that the six people who had been appointed so far included three black males, two white females and one white male.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said about the proposed committee, “That reflects the demographics of the city much better.”
The seven organizations that appointed one member each to the the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee are the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, the Greensboro Chapter of the NAACP, the George C. Simkins Jr. Political Action Committee, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, the Triad Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition (TREBIC) and the Greensboro International Advisory Committee.
McCarley said that his plan called for the committee to meet four times and at the fourth meeting to approve a redistricting map to present to the City Council. He noted that they were working under a tight time frame. The state law establishing the municipal redistricting process for the 2022 elections requires that the new maps be presented to the boards of elections by Nov. 19.
Councilmember Justin Outling said that he thought it was important to note that “This committee will come back to the City Council with a recommendation and ultimately it will be the City Council that makes the decision.”
The City Council is under no obligation to approve the map that the committee presents and could take the committee’s map and tweak it, or throw it out all together and draw its own map.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower asked if a citizen could present a map.
McCarley said that it is a frequent occurrence for citizens to present their own maps during the redistricting process and that any map presented to the committee would be analyzed and considered.
The meetings of the Citizens’ Redistricting Committee will be open to the public.