Issue One published a new report today that highlights 12 extreme gerrymanders — examples of how state legislators have drawn unfair maps for partisan gain over the next decade.
“Other than denying people the right to vote, there’s nothing that cuts harder against the grain of democracy than gerrymandering. In America, voters should pick their elected representatives, not the other way around,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “Just as both parties have done it in the past, both parties need to quit doing it now to help move America beyond the partisan infighting that’s crippling our way of governing.”
Gerrymandering is one reason that only about 10% to 15% of all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are generally considered competitive, one of the many reasons that gerrymandering is extremely unpopular with voters. According to a poll last year, 81% of Americans said they’d like to end partisan gerrymandering. While historic, this practice is part of the larger assault on our elections and democratic norms that has been rocking our nation’s foundation over the last several years.
The 12 extreme gerrymanders featured in Issue One’s new report are unbalanced, discriminatory, and designed to favor one party, while disempowering voters. The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center estimates that nine of these maps are more skewed than at least 80% of the enacted redistricting plans that it has analyzed over the past 50 years — and five are more skewed than 90% of other past maps.
Among the dozen examples highlighted by Issue One’s new report are eight states — Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Wisconsin — where state legislators passed new maps that were given “F” grades by the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project, typically for giving a significant advantage to one party, reducing the competitiveness of districts, and splitting communities of interest into multiple districts.
Already, state supreme courts in both North Carolina and Ohio each recently ruled that the new maps in those states were unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is arguing in court that Texas’ new map violates the Voting Rights Act, and a federal court recently ruled that Alabama’s new map violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of the state’s Black voters.
Issue One’s report also calls out state legislators in three states — New Mexico, New York, and Utah — for ignoring the recommendations of their state’s independent redistricting commissions when developing their new skewed maps.