Eric Holder: The NDRC’s 10 Year Plan

February 26, 2024

Dear NDRC Staff and Friends –

When Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Terry McAuliffe and I came together to launch the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) as the first-ever strategic hub for fair redistricting in 2017, the task before us was clear: end gerrymandering and restore free and fair elections. The path to accomplishing this goal, however, seemed more obscure. For context, Democrats running for Congress had just received 1.4 million more votes nationwide in 2012 than their GOP opponents. And yet when Congress convened to certify the 2012 election results, Republicans controlled 33 more seats. It was a disheartening moment for America.

Seven years later, the national congressional map is fairer today than at any point in the past 40 years. Gerrymandering still exists, but the partisan structural advantage Republicans had built leading up to 2012 has been nearly eliminated. The 2022 midterm elections for Congress, decided by just five districts, more closely mirrored the congressional popular vote than any election in the past decade.

As to how we got here, there are simply too many folks who deserve credit to name here. Key to the success were millions of Americans who, after going to work and taking care of their families, gave time as volunteers to be part of the redistricting process in their communities. Backing these incredible Americans were a historic number of redistricting reforms and a trio of landmark census and redistricting decisions out of the U.S. Supreme Court. In Colorado and Michigan, for example, we invested in and rallied around new independent redistricting commissions, which then passed fair and competitive maps on which both parties could compete. In Michigan, this meant that, in 2022, voters were able to elect a Democratic trifecta, which has since enacted significant new policies that reflect popular support.

And before THIS Supreme Court, our movement protected the accuracy of the decennial census from meddling by the Trump administration in Department of Commerce v. New York in 2019, and got the court to discard the so-called independent state legislature theory – an idea cooked up by lawyers in Bush v. Gore to weaken our system of checks and balances and weaponized by election deniers seeking to clear a path to overturn future election results – in Moore v. Harper in 2023. Also in 2023, in Allen v. Milligan, a key part of the Voting Rights Act was protected when the Supreme Court affirmed the use of Section 2 in a redistricting case our affiliate brought in Alabama. As a result, there is now more equitable representation for voters not only in Alabama, but also in Louisiana and Georgia.

And finally, the recent success of the fair maps movement in Wisconsin – where new legislative maps have just been enacted, which will allow competition between both parties for the first time in decades – proves that we can indeed achieve transformational change in the years to come in states that may seem out of reach today. But it takes long-term, dedicated work.

As proud as I am of what we’ve all accomplished together, we can’t stop now. Redistricting is no longer a once a decade process. The extreme wing of the Republican Party has grown dependent on gerrymandering. It’s become pretty clear that competitive elections just aren’t their thing. As a result, redistricting never stops. It is perpetual. In fact, since 2014, Americans have not voted on the same Congressional map two election cycles in a row. Between the 2022 and 2024 elections, a dozen congressional districts will change significantly.

To tackle this new challenge, NDRC and its affiliates have developed a 10-year plan to build a more representative democracy. While we work to address the redistricting challenges that persist today, we are simultaneously laying the groundwork for the next time all 50 states redraw their maps at once, after the 2030 Census. With our affiliates, we will execute a comprehensive plan to ensure the success of the fair maps movement. Our plan relies on five key pieces of work:

  • Best-in-class mapping: NDRC & Affiliates will develop state-of-the-art mapping capabilities, to ensure our tools are cutting edge and reflect the rapidly-changing landscape of mapping technology and artificial intelligence;
  • Electoral investment: NDRC & Affiliates has a strategic plan for political and electoral engagement throughout the decade, to build and shift power so that the right people are in the right places in advance of the next redistricting cycle;
  • Grassroots mobilization and public education: NDRC & Affiliates will mobilize our supporters to be engaged in efforts that build toward fair redistricting, including working toward a fair and accurate 2030 Census;
  • Accountability efforts: NDRC & Affiliates will move the needle toward representative democracy by holding legislators accountable to their voters. That means playing defense to protect good process and fair maps, while going on offense to enforce the Voting Rights Act and challenge racial and partisan gerrymanders; and
  • Redistricting Reform: and advancing redistricting reforms and policy changes at both the state and federal level.

To see this effort through, I am committing to remaining engaged as Chairman of NDRC through 2032. Wherever anti-democratic forces attempt to dilute the will of the people, we will be there to stop them. We will not allow what happened a decade ago to happen again. Together, I’m confident that we can continue to put power in the hands of the people, where it belongs.

None of this, not our once-in-a-generation fair map, not the ten year plan, not the Supreme Court wins would be possible without our staff, partners, volunteers, and supporters. There is no one I’d rather be standing next to in this effort, and I ask you to join me in recommitting to this fight. Thank you for all you’ve done and for agreeing to be the tip of the spear in the fight for fair maps, again.


Eric H. Holder Jr.