Campaign Legal Center (CLC) Releases State Resources to Hold Politicians Accountable for Partisan Gerrymandering
CLC continues federal partisan gerrymandering litigation while arming legislators, good government advocates and activists with the knowledge they need to fight partisan gerrymandering in the states
WASHINGTON – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) released two reports that outline a vision for the future of the fight to end partisan gerrymandering. Together, they represent a legal and policy roadmap for state leaders to advocate for fair redistricting inside and outside of the courtroom, after the Supreme Court of the United States declined to rule on partisan gerrymandering cases from Wisconsin, Maryland and North Carolina in June 2018. These cases are all still ongoing.
Regardless of whether the Court steps in to enforce national limits on partisan gerrymandering, laws in several states may provide standards that can constrain map-drawers and limit the use of extreme partisanship when they redraw electoral lines. There are many legal avenues available for litigating partisan gerrymandering claims under state constitutions, as evidenced by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to strike down the state’s maps in February as a violation of the ‘free and equal clause.’
Additionally, Independent Redistricting Commissions (IRC)’s are a solution for citizens seeking a more independent and fair process where voters can directly voice their opinions without having to go through state legislatures. While there is no one-size-fits-all model that will work in every state, IRC’s are a solution that removes partisan and special interest influence from the map drawing process. Several states are already using them successfully. These commissions improve competitiveness in elections within districts and raise the rate at which seats flip in response to changing voter sentiments.
“There are many ways we can hold politicians’ feet to the fire through a dual-track strategy that includes continuing our work in the courtroom and engaging in citizen-lead efforts to demand fair maps in all 50 states,” said Ruth Greenwood, senior legal counsel, voting rights and redistricting at CLC. “Citizens have the opportunity to approve several ballot initiatives slated for voter approval this fall – an important reminder that states can pursue redistricting reform even while we wait for the Supreme Court to set a clear standard on partisan gerrymandering. Between now and November, we must continue the effort in the states to ensure that legislators, good government advocates and activists have the knowledge they need to fight partisan gerrymandering. By the 2020 elections and the next redistricting process, legislators nationwide must be aware of the consequences for intentionally diluting the power of their voters for their own partisan gain.”