Gerrymander Gazette: Defending the VRA edition

Events and Resources 

  • YOU’RE INVITED! Join national and state experts on October 11th at 1:00 pm ET to learn about Moore v. Harper – the case that could upend our federal elections and grant state legislatures absolute authority to draw congressional district maps. This U.S. Supreme Court case, stemming from Common Cause and Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s legal fight for fair maps in North Carolina, is scheduled for oral arguments before the Supreme Court in late 2022. At worst, a bad decision in Moore could hand state lawmakers near-absolute power to run federal elections, without checks and balances from the courts that have long been a cornerstone of our democracy. Speakers from Common Cause, Southern Coalition for Social Justice along with North Carolina local activists will talk about how we got here, what Moore v. Harper could mean for our democracy, and what you can do to get involved.When: October 11, 2022 at 1pm ETWhere: Virtual! Register here
  • Common Cause Ohio has created a timeline tool detailing the history of Ohio’s redistricting process since 2020. The timeline — a Knightlab-created tool that integrates photos, Tweets, videos, and other multimedia forms — is intended for the press and public to be informed of the ongoing delay toward creating fair maps in Ohio. The timeline will be updated periodically to reflect new developments in the mapmaking process. Check it out here.


  • This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Merrill v. Milligan, a case in which Black voters in Alabama argue that the state’s congressional map is an illegal and discriminatory racial gerrymander. Justice Jackson offered a forceful historical defense of the use of race to implement and enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Read a breakdown of the arguments here and listen to yours truly discuss them on the radio here
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is attempting to shield from public view documents related to the redistricting of the state’s congressional map. Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the map as a violation of the Florida Constitution’s Fair Districts Amendments believe the documents will shed light on the racial and partisan manipulation of the state’s U.S. House districts.
  • Is it even a redistricting newsletter if there’s no North Carolina news? This week, the North Carolina Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to the remedial U.S. House and General Assembly maps legislators drew after their original maps were struck down. North Carolina Policy Watch found that the state’s legislators spent $2.9 million of taxpayer money drawing its gerrymanders and defending those gerrymanders in court.
  • A state appeals court in New York has given the state’s advisory redistricting commission another chance to draw Assembly districts. Plaintiffs in a case challenging the map asked the court to appoint a special master to draw districts instead.
  • A study by University of New Mexico political scientist Gabriel Sanchez found that New Mexico’s legislature used the state’s redistricting process to protect incumbents instead of focusing on community input. The legislature created an advisory citizen redistricting commission in the last legislative session but largely disregarded the commission’s work in favor of a “buddymander” designed to ease legislators’ reelection paths. 
  • The Center for Public Integrity details a lawsuit challenging Utah’s congressional map as an illegal partisan and racial gerrymander.