The Electoral Integrity Project has released a scathing report on the state of the democratic process in North Carolina, likening the integrity of the state’s electoral process to that of Cuba, Sierra Leone and Indonesia. According to EIP political scientist Andrew Reynolds, his home state of NC should "no longer considered to be a fully functioning democracy".
“If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world,” explains Reynolds, commenting in a News & Observer op-ed.
The EIP is a non-partisan organization that grades democracies around the world, based on a 100-point system. North Carolina’s recent election ranked a measly 58 points, citing three key flaws: extreme gerrymandering, voter suppression of ethnic minority residents, and undermining the powers of incoming governor Roy Cooper, via hasty legislation.
This is apparently a long-standing problem for NC: racial gerrymandering instituted by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 led to a ruling by a federal court that the electoral map was considered unconstitutional. The state was ordered to hold special elections in 2017 to rectify the issue.
The state of NC’s district lines has prompted the EIP to declare that it has the least democratic redistricting process in the world.
“There is nowhere in the world outside of America that allows politicians to change the district lines to this degree; it’s a recipe for disaster,” Reynolds said in a interview with The Huffington Post. “You’ve got voters locked into a system where they’re unable to change the power dynamics of the state, regardless how they vote.”
North Carolina Democratic Party chairperson, Patsy Keever, was especially critical of Senator Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, calling them "power hungry leaders whose number one goal is to protect their power no matter the cost.”
“Since 2010, the NC GOP has systematically engaged in a dangerous partisan political agenda, making it harder for people to vote, changing the nature of the State Board of Elections and stripping an incoming Democratic governor of power,” continues Keever. “That’s not what democracy looks like ― and North Carolinians deserve better.”