Efforts to Reduce Gerrymandering Won Big at Ballot Box in 2018

Courthouse News Service

Five states had ballot initiatives this year that aimed to take redistricting out of the hands of partisan legislators and put it into the hands of nonpartisan committees. And in all five states, the initiatives won.

This now makes a total of 10 states that have independent redistricting committees in charge of allocating congressional districts ahead of the decennial national census. And with the the next census getting underway in 2020, an effort in Virginia hopes to make the commonwealth No. 11.

“[It] shows us how fed up voters are with their legislators operating for their own benefit rather than representing the interests of their voters,” said Ruth Greenwood, senior legal counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, about why voters appear to be more interested now in a political issue usually reserved for pollsters and data scientists.

Greenwood and her organization are at the forefront of the push to nix gerrymandering wherever possible. In a report released this summer, they provided an outline for citizens and legislators to help address the issue, though Greenwood said they’ve been involved in fighting gerrymandering since 2004.

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