From state legislatures and governors deadlocking over voting maps to lawsuits challenging gerrymanders in 11 states, the once-a-decade redistricting process has entered a new phase: the courts. As RepresentUs’ Gerrymandering Threat Index predicted and the Redistricting Report Card is confirming, states where politicians control the process are failing to draw fair maps. Whether or how the courts will intervene remains an open question that RepresentUs will be following closely.
“We know that if we give partisan politicians the leeway to choose their own voters through gerrymandering, they’re going to do it. This cycle is no different,” said Joe Kabourek, senior campaign director for RepresentUs. “At the end of the day, the American people deserve fair representation and to have their voices heard in government. It’s now up to the courts to address a lot of gerrymandered maps, and we’ll be watching to see how they do.”
The potential for deadlock over proposed redistricting maps -- where different parties control the legislature and governor’s office -- exists in nine states. Last week, Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed “F” maps passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, meaning courts will now decide the fate of the state’s congressional and legislative districts. A similar dynamic is expected to play out in Maryland, where Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is likely to veto one of the “F” congressional maps proposed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
In the 2010 redistricting cycle, courts stepped in to reject some gerrymandered maps. The most prominent example was in North Carolina, where courts ordered legislators to redraw partisan maps in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
According to a RepresentUs analysis of grades from the Redistricting Report Card, redistricting commissions of any kind are drawing the fairest maps, averaging a “B+” grade compared to a “D” for legislatures. RepresentUs will perform a similar analysis for court-enforced maps once they start coming out.
“Advisory redistricting commissions in Wisconsin and Maryland drew “A” maps -- so we know that fair maps are possible,” finished Kabourek. “Last cycle, courts intervened in key states to stop obvious gerrymanders. This cycle, we’re seeing gerrymanders that are just as extreme in the same states, if not worse. Courts can and should step in and protect democracy.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Ross Sherman, RepresentUs Public Relations Strategist, 207-749-2660, email@example.com
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.