By Mitch Kokai
The legislative committees charged with drawing North Carolina’s new congressional and legislative election maps will take public comment at 13 different hearings during the next month. Participating lawmakers will head as far east as Elizabeth City and as far west as Cullowhee.
The first hearing is scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 8, in Caldwell County.
“By the conclusion of the process, a public hearing will have occurred in each of the state’s current congressional districts,” according to a news release from Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, co-chairman of the Senate’s redistricting committee.
“Members of the public may share their opinions on redistricting matters in person at the hearings,” according to the release. “They may also submit their comments online at any time on the legislature’s website.”
Each hearing will use the same rules for prospective speakers. “Members of the public may sign up to speak on-site at each hearing beginning one hour prior to start time,” according to Hise’s release. “Members of the public may also sign up online to speak. The online sign-up portal will close four hours prior to start time.”
The number of scheduled hearings has grown since lawmakers released an initial proposal on Aug. 18. At that time, redistricting leaders expected to hold 10 statewide hearings.
Candidates are scheduled to start filing for congressional and legislative elections on Dec. 6. Comments from an earlier joint redistricting committee meeting suggested that lawmakers needed to finish maps at least three weeks before that date. The State Board of Elections needs the time to prepare for the candidate filing period.
Here is the schedule of hearings:
Wednesday, Sept. 8
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 14
Forsyth Technical Community College, 4 p.m.
Elizabeth City State University, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 15
Durham Technical Community College, 6 p.m.
Nash Community College, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 16
Alamance Community College, 5 p.m.
Pitt Community College, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 21
Western Carolina University, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 22
Central Piedmont Community College, 3 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 23
Mitchell Community College (Iredell County Campus), 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 28
UNC-Pembroke, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 29
UNC-Wilmington, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 30
Fayetteville Technical Community College, 6 p.m.