WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, March 16, North Carolina Republicans introduced House Bill 376, a bill that would amend the state constitution to end the principle of one person, one vote in the state Senate. Currently, every state senator represents a roughly equal number of North Carolinians in the state Senate — as of 2023, about 208,788. H.B. 376 would instead have each of the state’s 50 senators represent two of North Carolina’s 100 counties regardless of population.
The amendment would drastically reduce the representation of urban and suburban voters in the state Senate likely in violation of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Reynolds v. Sims, which requires state legislators to represent roughly equal numbers of voters. Mecklenburg and Wake counties, both home to over one million residents, would have the same number of senators as Tyrrell County, home to just 2,000 people. As a result, rural, Republican counties would have far more political power than more urban, Democratic ones. Yet despite the proposal’s likely unconstitutionality, H.B. 376 already has eight cosponsors.
If approved by both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature, the proposed amendment would go before the voters during the 2024 presidential election.