This Week in Redistricting – October 8, 2021
October 8, 2021
ContactFabiola Rodriguez firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Friends —
A number of states had important map developments this week, including Iowa, Texas, North Carolina, and Colorado. Roughly a month into the map drawing process – and with half a dozen states having fully completed their maps – there is a sharp contrast in how Republican-controlled states are drawing maps compared to those not entirely controlled by Republicans.
This afternoon the Texas State Senate voted to pass congressional maps that eliminate 10 of the 11 districts that voted for Donald Trump or Joe Biden by less than 5%. In Indiana, Republicans took the competitive 5th district and redrew it to be a safe GOP seat. In Arkansas, the competitive 2nd district is now a Trump +15 district.
These actions are further proof that Republicans are doubling down on their 2011 gerrymandering and annihilating competitive districts.
In contrast, Oregon Democrats created a new competitive district, Nebraska Democrats forced a compromise to preserve the competitive NE-02 that voted for Joe Biden in 2020, and in Maine the second congressional district will remain competitive for 2022.
We’re on offense everywhere, fighting for fair maps and against Republican gerrymandering. Next week we expect important developments in Virginia, Michigan, and North Carolina. Until then, here are updates on the maps from the past week.
AOTL Colorado Submits Legal Brief to the State Supreme Court on Congressional Map
Today, All On The Line Colorado submitted a brief to the Colorado Supreme Court regarding the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission’s congressional map. While the Commission drew a map accomplishing many of the goals for a fair map in Colorado, the brief outlines how the map relied on a flawed legal understanding of the minority electoral influence and competitiveness provisions of the state constitution.
The brief calls on the state Supreme Court to send the map back to the commission to redraw the 8th congressional district, remedy the issues highlighted, and deliver a map that abides by the state constitution. There were several maps considered by the commission including one with an 8th congressional district that would preserve communities of interest between west Adams County and Greeley, protect minority electoral influence, and adhere to the principles outlined in Amendment Y that were overwhelmingly supported by the people of Colorado in 2018.
Read more, including the press release and full brief here.
Iowa Republicans Reject Initial Nonpartisan Maps
This week, Iowa Republicans rejected the first set of maps put forward by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. These maps were fair and without partisan influence. The legislature will have two more opportunities to vote to accept maps drawn by the nonpartisan LSA staff.
Since Iowa put this non-partisan map drawing process in place nearly a half century ago, the legislature has never rejected the non-partisan maps all three times. Doing so would be unprecedented. As former Attorney General and NDRC Chair Eric Holder cautioned Iowa lawmakers this week, “now is not the time for Iowa, which has led the country in fair redistricting, to turn away from a nonpartisan process that has been an exemplar for the nation.” Read more about the Iowa maps and the rest of Holder’s message here.
Arkansas Republicans Eliminate Another Competitive District
Following the national trend in Texas and elsewhere, Arkansas Republicans passed a congressional map that divides communities of interest in order to replace a competitive seat with a safe GOP seat. The proposed map carves the heavily democratic Pulaski County between three districts.
Although the recent Census data shows that the white population of Arkansas decreased by five percent over the last decade and communities of color accounted for nearly all of the population growth, this map further dilutes the votes of the African American community in Pulaski County. As a result, the second district – a DCCC target in 2020 – will become a solidly Republican seat that would have voted for Trump by a 14% margin.
North Carolina Republicans Intent on Gerrymandering Like 2011 All Over Again
The North Carolina General Assembly began drafting congressional and legislative maps this week. Republican legislators are clearly intent on gerrymandering along partisan lines, just as they did ten years ago. In a 50-50 state like North Carolina, it is astounding that their first proposed map would result in 10 GOP seats and just four Democratic seats. The North Carolina courts have been clear: partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional in North Carolina. Fair maps in this purple state would mean an evenly divided congressional delegation.
If North Carolina Republicans attempt to gerrymander along partisan lines again, we are ready to take them to court. And we will win, again.