This is why redistricting matters to everyone in NC

The redistricting of North Carolina is a huge development for our state, and it affects every single person living here. Unfortunately, the moving parts in this political juggernaut are incredibly complex, and, let's face it, a little dry.

Here are the five things you need to know about the potential carving up of the Tar Heel state.

1. What is redistricting?

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the districts from which public officials are elected.

A federal ruling ordered North Carolina to redraw it's congressional maps by Feb. 19, because the current maps were determined to be racially biased. Some groups say the maps don't represent black and Latino voters fairly and give Republicans an unfair advantage.

2. How does it affect me?

The N.C. House of Representatives voted to move the date of congressional primaries from March 15 to June 7. Primary elections are a contest between candidates within a political party to choose that party's nominee.

It essentially narrows the field of who will represent you in Washington.

So why does that matter? The state senate recently approved newly-drawn maps that Republicans insist do not use voter's race as a factor. On Feb. 19, the General Assembly voted to approve the maps.

The State Senate approved newly-drawn maps Thursday.

The redrawing of maps is not as simple as a head count, though. The district's boundaries could mean political destruction for more than a few current officeholders in North Carolina.

A new political map could mean districts that historically vote Republican would be inundated with a Democratic-leaning voter base.

This would also likely result in a whole lot of voter confusion. If your address is suddenly in a new district, there are new politicians that represent you in Washington. You may not recognize the names on the ballot this year, so it is important to do your research on the congressional candidates.

3. Will it impact the presidential election?

Short version? No. Detailed version? Sort of.

Voters will still go to the polls on March 15 and vote in the presidential primaries and the various state races.

Then, June 7, voters will all go back to the polls and vote in the 13 congressional primary races.

These dates are set now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to delay the federal court ruling.

In addition to the new primary date, the plan also eliminates runoff primaries in the 2016 election cycle. It also notes that all votes cast for congressional races via absentee ballot on the March 15 primary date will remain confidential and will not be counted.

4. Why are some politicians against redistricting?

Republicans maintain that the congressional maps they drew in 2011 are fair and legal, so they are against the federal ruling to redraw the existing maps.

They see this court decision as unnecessary, potentially expensive, and upending an election that is already underway.

The big concern shared by everyone, Republicans and Democrats alike, is voter confusion.

5. How will I know who to vote for?

Everything you need to know to prepare yourself will be outlined on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.

Once the new maps are finalized, you can use the NCSBE to find out what district you live in this year. You can also find out who has contributed funding to your congressional candidates.

Since congressional maps are shifting, it is important to familiarize yourself with the candidates hoping to represent you in Washington.

Click here to visit the NCSBE website
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