Democracy on hold: Late Census data puts NC Municipal elections in limbo


And you can thank the incompetent Trump administration for the delay:

Raleigh, Cary and other North Carolina cities like Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, may have to push back their 2021 local elections and keep current local leaders in office past their original terms. Cities that elect local leaders by district must update those districts after every new U.S. Census.

On Friday the U.S. Census Bureau announced it won’t be releasing district data until Sept. 30, which is after the traditional filing date for candidates to run in this year’s elections.

Just to give you an idea of how bad this is, most municipal redistricting plans are finalized by mid-June. They won't even be able to start the process until a few days before many of them would be holding the actual election. Raleigh held its 2011 municipal election on October 11th of that year, and they scheduled this year's for the 5th. And I have to say, this statement brought a face-palm and an eye-rub:

No decisions have been made about the 2021 election, said Raleigh City Attorney Robin Tatum, in an email to The News & Observer. The latest Census news was a surprise to Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, who said the council has not discussed its next steps.

“We have not had any discussions because right now we don’t know,” she said. “We don’t know when the Census data will be released. And I don’t know if the General Assembly is looking at this. At this point, I am proceeding like there is an election that will take place in October.”

We actually do know when the Census data will be released, which is kind of why the newspaper asked, is it not? But setting that aside, Raleigh's population was 896,000 in 2010, and 1,444,000 in 2020. That's a 61% increase over the decade, and there's no way in hell those districts are even close to equal now. Municipalities whose populations have remained static (or close to it) could probably safely proceed with elections as scheduled, and of course those exclusively at-large (like mine) are unaffected.

But Metros can't do that, or their one person/one vote numbers will be off. Way off.



To be crystal clear,

I do hope the Census numbers come earlier, and the Raleigh (and other) elections can proceed smoothly. Because even without this problem, it was going to get ugly. The current majority has taken some rather radical and controversial steps, and the pushback is going to be strong.

Hopefully that won't leak into the redistricting process, such as a vote by said majority that they don't need it. But if they did try something that foolish, you would see it here. Frequently and colorfully...