To: Interested Parties
From: Kelly Ward, NDRC Executive Director
Date: December 22, 2017
Re: National Democratic Redistricting Committee Update
One year ago, we launched the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) to develop the first-ever comprehensive redistricting plan that can unrig Republican control over the redistricting process, undo gerrymandering and restore fairness to our democracy. I am proud to report that NDRC has had a very successful first year, with big plans for 2018 and beyond.
With no precedent for a comprehensive redistricting strategy, we set out to create a plan and start building the foundation for this work. Since no two states are the same, our model allows us to adapt and customize how we can be most effective in each state. The four pillars of our strategy include:
- A robust litigation strategy in states with unconstitutional maps
- Reforming the redistricting process where possible, including supporting ballot initiatives to create fairer redistricting processes in the states
- Building the infrastructure needed for successful advocacy during the redistricting process in 2021, including raising public awareness, building a grassroots network, and developing state-of-the-art mapping software
- Electing Democrats in key state and local races that will play a role in the next round of redistricting
With our model in place, we immediately and aggressively began executing on our work. We effectively established NDRC as the leading redistricting organization, created a strong financial foundation, launched initial programmatic activity in key strategy areas, and began building a strong grassroots network around the country.
In 2017, we worked to advance our goals around the country by:
- Raising more than $11 million for NDRC and our affiliated-organizations, the National Redistricting Action Fund (501c4) and the National Redistricting Foundation (501c3),
- Helping to elect Ralph Northam and Democratic legislators down the ballot in Virginia by investing $1.2 million. For the first time since 1991, Virginia will have a Democratic governor with veto power over the redistricting process,
- Investing $50,000 in a local campaign to protect three state Senators from a brazen partisan recall attempt in Nevada. These recalls are an attempt by Republicans to flip the majority in the Nevada state Senate,
- Generating extensive local and national press coverage about the damaging effects of gerrymandering and NDRC’s plan to achieve fair maps,
- Pursuing active lawsuits in 5 states, including Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia,
- Launching a partnership with Organizing For Action (OFA), which included NDRC Chairman Eric Holder digitally joining more than 60 grassroots house parties around the country, and
- Building a robust and extensive grassroots email network that both supports us financially and engages on redistricting issues nationally and in the states.
Plans for 2018 and Beyond
We have specific, ambitions plans to build on this success in 2018. Overall, our goal for the year is to move the needle on achieving a fair redistricting process in 2021. To that end, we will be focused on:
- Electing Democrats into targeted races that affect redistricting
We will release our 2018 redistricting targets early next year. Our targets will help define the states and races that are most important for redistricting, and we will work with allied organizations and the Democratic Party infrastructure to channel resources and progressive energy into these elections.
- Supporting reform efforts in targeted states
We will support key ballot initiatives that positively reform the redistricting process. This will include both funding the signature gathering efforts to get them on the ballot and the initiative campaigns themselves, as needed.
- Successfully moving litigation through the courts
We will continue to pursue litigation against gerrymandered maps in targeted states. To date we and our affiliated organizations have active litigation in Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
- Building necessary infrastructure for the redistricting process
We will provide leadership and funding to create high-quality infrastructure that will prepare us for the redistricting process itself. This includes building the tech infrastructure for innovative mapping capabilities, partnering with OFA and others to grow a robust grassroots network, and continuing to raise awareness about gerrymandering in the states.
- Elevating the Census in the national conversation
Without an adequate Census, the initial reapportionment of seats will be skewed and the redistricting process itself will be faulty. It is very important that we have a fair an accurate count, which is not currently on track to happen. We are currently interviewing candidates for Census Director and this will be an important piece of our work.
We see the negative effects of Republican gerrymandering in 2011 every time this Congress votes. The NDRC is leading an aggressive effort to dramatically reform the redistricting process across the country and achieve fair maps that accurately reflect the will of the American people. With 2018 as a critical year in setting up the building blocks for the next redistricting process, the time for this work is now. We have made tangible gains in our first year, and we are energetic and confident about the opportunity for impact we have moving forward.