There will really be only elections for 91 legislative seats in North Carolina in 2014. Of the 170 North Carolina state House and Senate seats up for election this year, 79 already have a winner. And a winner is the effect of partisan redistricting.
OK, actually, the N.C. State Board of Elections hasn’t declared a winner in the races, but in each of those 79 “races” only one candidate filed for office.
It isn’t unusual in North Carolina to have uncontested sets for the General Assembly. However, following the birth of the Moral Monday movement last year and the strong Tea Party activity in the state in the last few years, it does seem strange that there weren’t more people willing to run for office and stand up for their beliefs.
You are going to hear lots of reasons why people aren’t running and some of them may be true, but certainly one of the major reasons is partisan redistricting. Many people, who would like to run for office, who would like to speak out, are discouraged because they live in a district that has such a partisan make-up that they would be modern day Don Quixotes if they did run.
To have 46 percent of our legislative seats uncontested in the midst of an era of citizen activism is a sad commentary on the state of democracy in North Carolina. It is a reminder that it is time to have a nonpartisan redistricting system and end gerrymandering in North Carolina now.