September 14, 2021 (Florence, Mass.): Congress is closer than ever to passing a federal ban on gerrymandering. The Freedom to Vote Act, the newly-unveiled voting rights bill, would make partisan gerrymandering illegal as states move ahead with their redistricting process. With states already starting to release proposed maps, the U.S. Senate has a tight window to prevent politicians across the country from rigging elections for the next decade.
Gerrymandering occurs when politicians manipulate voting maps to get desired outcomes, picking their voters and giving an advantage to their own political party. A form of political corruption, the practice is overwhelmingly unpopular with voters. A RepresentUs poll found that 88 percent of Trump voters and 92 percent of Biden voters opposed gerrymandering. Additionally, more than 90 percent of voters want fair voting maps that do not benefit their political party.
The Freedom to Vote Act bans partisan gerrymandering at the federal level, setting up immediate court battles over voting maps this cycle. The Freedom to Vote Act also includes the most fundamental reforms from the original For the People Act. Notably, it protects early voting and mail-in voting, ensuring voting access for seniors, rural voters, veterans, people with disabilities and communities of color. It also makes Election Day a national holiday.
“Today’s announcement is historic, and puts us on the brink of passing the most significant voting rights and anti-gerrymandering legislation in decades. We’re encouraged that our leaders, including Sen. Joe Manchin, understand that inaction is not an option,” said RepresentUs CEO Josh Silver.
But the Senate must pass the Freedom to Vote Act to stop gerrymandering this cycle and prevent unfair maps that could be in place for the next decade. RepresentUs’ Gerrymandering Threat Index shows 35 states are at extreme or high risk of gerrymandering. RepresentUs has also partnered with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project on a Redistricting Report Card that will catch gerrymandering in newly-drawn voting maps.
“There isn’t any time to waste in getting this bill over the finish line. States are already beginning to draw gerrymandered districts and they continue to pass anti-voter laws with little resistance. Passing this bill means we can finally ban gerrymandering, ensure baseline voter access, and curb the influence of big money in politics. We encourage senators to pass this compromise bill as soon as possible even if it means changing Senate rules. Our democracy is at stake,” said Silver.
RepresentUs is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption organization, bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states to stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.