Ok! Made it to the right location! Waiting for the Caldwell County (home of House Redistricting Chair, Rep. Destin Hall) public hearing to start!
This building says it requires masks, however, most of the legislators are not wearing one - while all the attendees I can see are.
Rep. Hall is opening the meeting now.
Rep. Becky Carney is the only Democratic legislator I see here.
Rep. Hall calls up the first online sign up - not present - the second he calls isn't here either, or the third apparently?

Also Rep. Paul Lowe just showed up
Bob Phillips from @CommonCauseNC is the first person to speak
Phillips says that he's disappointed that this hearing is not live streamed, with a virtual option, especially because Caldwell COVID cases have exploded in the past few weeks.
Phillips also asks for transparency improvements during the map drawing and hearings to be held after maps are drawn
Rev. Kim Moss of the Caldwell NAACP - she speaks on the fact that COIs are not being given any priority, the importance of the VRA, and our history of voter suppression and racial gerrymandering in this state
She also asks for hearings after the maps are submitted and more notice for hearings
The chair of the Caldwell County Republicans speaks next - starts with praising the process - and asks for the county to be kept whole in its current Congressional district
He mentions that there are rumors that it would be split and/ or put in another district
The downfall of the online sign ups - a lot of no shows
LOTS of no shows 🤦🏽‍♀️
Deborah McGivren (sp?) is the head of LWV here and asks for maps that do not consider candidate addresses and only uses non-partisan criteria. She also mentions transparency and the fact that there are not enough hearing sites - and no safe virtual participation opportunities
(I am going to try to spell people's names to the best of my ability, plz correct me if you know better)
Rosanna McDonald speaks next to ask for more public education about redistricting, more public hearings, mentions that people were not notified that the site changed from Caldwell Community College in time
She also asks for COVID protections, access to public comments, and hearings after proposed maps. Also says the consideration of racial data is important to protect the rights of communities of color.
Didn't catch this lady's name but she says she supports the whole county provision? And also mentions keeping Caldwell whole in the 5th district.
A Caldwell County Commissioner speaks again on not wanting Caldwell to be split (now I'm wondering what rumors have been going around about this) He also says that he doesn't want Caldwell to be paired with Watauga, because it's much larger and wealthier.
I'm having a hard time catching people's names but the next speaker says she is with the Alexander County Democrats - she's a former teacher and says that she taught students that their votes count but feels like gerrymandering makes that untrue
She mentions the threats of violence by Madison Cawthorne and ties it to Republicans being enabled by gerrymandering.
Barbara Kirby is a retired educator and current librarian. She makes the point that the vagueness of the criteria allow map makers to continue to gerrymander as in the past.
Carlos Lopez from McDowell county who works as a youth coordinator in the Latinx community there - he is asking for his community to be kept together, and is advocating for more transparency in the process so the youth he works with will be able to participate
Margarita Ramirez, from the same organization, says that this year's hearings are insufficient especially compared to 2011's 60+ sites
She says the contributions of her community are overlooked and to ensure fairness for them more transparency and language access is needed.
Ed Blair from Lenoir talks about the history of gerrymandering across party lines in the state. He talks about the current sophistication of gerrymandering and the subversion of non-partisan criteria to partisan ends.
Rev. T Anthony Spearman, head of the state NAACP, has his name completely butchered by Hall even though it's impossible that he doesn't know who he is 😒
Spearman, like Rev. Moss, brings up the failure of the committee to consider the history of discrimination against Black voters in drawing districts. He also emphasizes that redistricting should be about communities, and they should be much more highly prioritized in the criteria
The next speaker says he doesn't feel represented in his current district, and that candidates should win on the merits, not because of gerrymandered districts.
And that's the end of the signed up speakers list that Rep. Hall has. And with that the meeting is over.

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More from @lekhashupeck

14 Sep
Y'all one thing I have to say - I am concerned that people are not making effective comments at public hearings - that they're making comments that can be easily ignored by the redistricting committee.
If you show up and talk about wanting an independent commission, or say you want fair maps without saying what that means in a very granular and specific way you are giving the committee license to ignore you.
The response from the legislators running the committee to those kinds of comments are basically going to be 1) we don't have an independent commission, so too bad, we're drawing the maps 2) we think the maps we're drawing *are* "fair"
Read 19 tweets
14 Sep
Just got here for the Elizabeth City Redistricting Public Hearing! #ncpol ImageImage
Sen. Warren Daniel is starting off the meeting.
Rep. Bobby Hanig and Rep. Edward Goodwin are both here as well.
Read 41 tweets
8 Sep
Here at Caldwell Community College for the first redistricting public hearing and there's no signage to help you find the meeting - this building says Broyhill, so let's try it?
Well that was a bust...
I wonder what would have happened if I didn't see this random tiny sign
Read 6 tweets
12 Aug
Here at joint House and Senate Redistricting for the discussion and vote on redistricting criteria #ncpol
Apparently there are a bunch of amendments that aren't yet ready for discussion, so the committee will go at ease until 9:15am
We're being pushed back until 10am. Apparently all amendments are from Dems - I'm actually a little bit surprised considering how vague / unfinished the proposed criteria seem.
Read 86 tweets
10 Aug
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this morning's redistricting criteria hearing.
Either NCGA staff was lying when they said a lot of people had already signed up before public sign up info was released, and that Sen. Newton's LA was collecting those signups (a statement that many others heard, including more-level-headed-than-me @JBremerDevt)
Or legislative leadership decided it wasn't a good look to pack the place with loyalists, and so decided to let the people online who signed up using the public link speak instead
Read 9 tweets
10 Aug
So, there's this mockery of a public hearing - but what about the proposed redistricting criteria themselves? Well, you can watch our training here:

But if you missed that / don't have time to watch, I'll walk through the criteria in this thread:
First of all, here's a link to the document containing all of the proposed criteria: ncleg.gov/documentsites/…

The chairs might have told you they're the same as in 2019, but they're actually quite different and much, much more vague.
I'm going to skip over Equal Population, Contiguity, and Counties, Groupings, and Traversals because those are all mandated specifically by the constitution or court precedent and are therefore always the same.
Read 34 tweets

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