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Rep. Jon Hardister

P.O. Box 4113
Greensboro, NC 27404
jonhardister@gmail.com


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PRESS RELEASE: Rep. Jon Hardister Releases Statement on Judicial Redistricting

September 19, 2017

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC - Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford, Majority Whip), who serves on the House Select Committee on Judicial Redistricting, released the following statement regarding judicial redistricting efforts in the North Carolina General Assembly:

In reviewing the judicial districts in North Carolina, it is clear that we need to update and streamline the system. My focus is on the judicial system in Guilford County, which desperately needs to be updated.

There are five Superior Court districts in Guilford County. These districts have not been updated since 2001. As a result, the populations of these districts are very disproportionate.

The population of Guilford County's five Superior Court districts are as follows:

18 A: 62,406
18 B: 108,936
18 C: 128,853
18 D: 85,509
18 E: 102,702

These districts have extreme disparities in their populations, which is unacceptable. It is not fair to the voters and it is not fair to the judicial candidates. The variance in population in two of these districts is two-to-one.

This needs to be updated so the districts are balanced in population, which will result in more equity for voters and judicial candidates. These districts need to be balanced in population.

As for the Guilford County District Courts, we currently have 14 judges who are elected countywide. This also needs to be updated.

It is very difficult for candidates to run countywide for District Court. Guilford County is currently over 500,000 in population and it is growing. It is expensive and rigorous for judicial candidates to run a countywide race.

If you are a voter in Guilford County, it is difficult to keep up with 14 District Court judges to vote for across the county. Voters are often confused by the large number of district court judges to choose from. This needs to be simplified.

It would be better to elect District Court judges from within the Superior Court districts. We can do this by adding an extra seat to the Guilford County District Court, brining the total number of judges to 15. We would then elect three District Court judges from within each Superior Court district.

(Note: The Guilford County District Court has requested more resources in order to meet their workload. Adding an extra judge would help to achieve this goal.)

This would be a much more balanced, streamlined approach to operating our District Court system. It would be easier for voters to track candidates, which may result in higher participation in judicial races. It would also be more reasonable for District Court candidates to run in a district rather than countywide.

It is worth noting that Article IV of the North Carolina Constitution requires the General Assembly to divide judicial districts from "time to time" in order to establish a "convenient" number of districts. This applies to both the Superior Courts and the District Courts. Given the fact that Guilford County's judicial districts have not been updated in 16 years, it is time to proceed with this action.

Over the next few weeks I will be in touch with members of the District Court and Superior Court to keep them updated on our efforts and to receive their feedback. This effort needs to be collaborative and comprehensive.

I look forward to working my colleagues in the General Assembly to put these changes into action. This is not a matter of partisan politics. It is a matter of updating and enhancing the efficiency of our judicial system.

Contact:

Rep. Jon Hardister
NC House Majority Whip
JonHardister@gmail.com
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