In the United States, partisan redistricting is perhaps the most egregious example of the powerful using their insider status to stymie a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Giving control over district boundary-drawing to legislators or a partisan committee gives license to the majority party to keep itself in power and to create safe seats for incumbents. This unfair practice exacerbates extremism, skews election results, and prevents policies supported by large majorities from becoming law. ERN advocates for independent redistricting commissions, which are now the norm in peer democracies. We also support bipartisan federal redistricting guidelines to surmount the state-level obstacle of “unilateral disarmament.” So far, ERN has supported successful redistricting reform initiatives in New Mexico, Utah, and Missouri.
Watchdogs and redistricting experts filed an amicus brief to guide courts in assessing political gerrymandering, using the standard authored by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. New Mexico's current court challenge provided the case study.
Across the nation, partisan gerrymandering divides our communities and dilutes the power of our vote so those in power can stay in power. But how do we know when gerrymandering has actually occurred?
On June 27, 2023, the United States Supreme Court definitively rejected the outrageous theory that state legislatures should be unconstrained by state constitutions or can operate free from state court judicial review when regulating federal elections.
While the SCOTUS' June 2023 decision to send Alabama maps back to the drawing board is laudable, Congress must establish standards to limit gerrymandering across the U.S. well in advance of the next redistricting cycle, writes ERN VP Heather Balas for The Fulcrum.
After almost four hours of rigorous questioning, the Utah Supreme Court today seemed poised to protect Utahns from unlawful partisan gerrymandering and potentially restore the force of the Better Boundaries initiative that Utah voters approved in 2018.
Voter enthusiasm, recent bipartisanship in Congress, and an unclear political future create an opportunity to reform our systems that should not be passed by.
New Mexico's highest court holds that Republican claims can proceed under legal standard proposed by U.S. Supreme Court's liberal justices
This post by Kevin Johnson originally appeared on The Fulcrum. It pointed out that, absent a change of heart from Sen. Joe Manchin, the For the People Act was headed for defeat. Johnson urged Democratic leaders to shift focus to components like gerrymandering with a chance of becoming law.
Extreme partisan gerrymandering is now freely permitted in North Carolina. It may soon be in other states to come, and it has been for federal courts since the 2019 Rucho v Common Cause decision, which reached similar conclusions for similarly flawed reasons. Congress needs to act.
Description: March 23, 2020: ERN’s inaugural webinar, States at Play in the Fight Against Gerrymandering, features expert panelists Cathy Duvall (of Democracy Ascent Advisors) and Clean Missouri’s Sean Soendker Nicholson, who discuss the outcome of the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering – and where it leaves room for state action.
In 2022, Congress was able to find common ground on an issue that destabilized U.S. politics. This unusually cooperative effort to update the Electoral Count Act of 1887 offers a path to a less divisive election ecosystem nationwide including redistricting reform.
This op-ed originally ran on The Fulcrum. This has been a summer of gut punches to the body politic. A Supreme Court bloc cobbled together by minority-backed presidents and a norm-abusing Senate has trampled precedent and lurched to extremes on the most divisive issues of our time. A presidential election that should have been laid...
Perhaps it is not surprising that Friday’s vote on HR1, the omnibus election reform bill, broke strictly along partisan lines … And yet, just last year, many of the reforms featured in HR1 won backing from Republican majorities in several states. Reforms like independent redistricting, automatic voter registration, campaign…
We Americans find our ourselves today in a crisis of democracy. Our institutions don’t seem to work. They produce polarizing results. Gridlock and political stasis are prevalent. Visions of the future are bleak, featuring continued and increased stressing of our democratic institutions and traditions until they risk reaching the breaking point….
Abuse of power stopped by citizens, that’s a good sign of the health of our democracy, and it happened in New Jersey this past weekend when state legislative leaders were forced off a plan to permanently gerrymander Democratic control. It’s an even better sign that the citizens groups doing the stopping were on the side that would…
GUARDING THE HENHOUSE: WHO SHOULD DRAW CREDIBLE ELECTION BOUNDARIES? Edward R. McMahon, Ed.D Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Vermont Vice Chair, Election Reformers Network A hot item on the current political reform agenda in this country concerns the redrawing of the boundaries that define congressional districts. This constitutionally-mandated process typically occurs every…
This post originally appeared on the Vox website. By Andrew Prokop. The main reason for partisan gerrymandering in the US is that in most states, redistricting is handled by self-interested politicians in state legislatures. The most commonly proposed reform would take gerrymandering out of politicians hands entirely, and let an independent nonpartisan commission handle the job...
This op-ed by ERN Executive Director Kevin Johnson and The People's Katie Fahey originally appeared in Bridge Michigan. In 2018, Michiganders of all sides won one of the greatest battles for basic fairness in the states history. Michigan slayed the dragon of partisan gerrymandering, taking election district drawing out of the self-dealing hands of legislators...
This report compares constitutional amendment legislation in five states aimed at blocking partisan gerrymandering and changing how redistricting is done. The states include Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah.