Gerrymander Gazette: Drunk with Power Edition

As the map-drawing phase of the redistricting cycle comes to a close, we now begin assessing how it went, where litigation challenging maps stands, and lessons learned to improve the process. Here’s the latest news in the fight for fair maps.

  • 🏆Win of the week🏆: A federal court struck down Louisiana’s congressional map as a violation of the Voting Rights Act for containing only one majority-Black district when legislators should have drawn two. Calling the decision “correct and completely unsurprising,” Gov. John Bel Edwards called legislators back into session to redraw the map. That session will begin June 15.
  • Common Cause’s Kathay Feng gets fiery in a New York Times overview of how redistricting went across the country this cycle.
  • Common Cause Ohio’s Catherine Turcer tells Spectrum News 1 Ohio that this redistricting cycle in the state proves that it’s time to take the keys away from politicians who are drunk on the power to manipulate districts. As if on cue, Republicans on Ohio’s politician redistricting commission ignored an order from the Ohio Supreme Court to submit lawful maps.
  • David Daley chats with WBUR about how the manipulation of districts left communities of color underrepresented in some states.
  • Texas lawmakers who sought to avoid testimony in one of several racial discrimination cases challenging the state’s voting maps will be compelled to testify.
  • The Brennan Center’s Michael Li discusses what went wrong with New York’s redistricting. New York created an advisory redistricting commission that left ultimate control over the approval of maps to legislators. Those legislators drew a pro-Democratic gerrymander that was struck down in state court.
  • The Florida Supreme Court declined to intervene in a case challenging Florida’s congressional map, which Gov. Ron DeSantis drew. The map diminishes Black representation and gives Republicans an unfair partisan advantage.
  • Rhode Island’s Democratic attorney general will not intervene in a lawsuit charging Democratic legislators with violations of the state’s transparency laws during the redistricting process.
  • Plaintiffs challenging Idaho’s state legislative districts appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This newsletter has been produced by Common Cause and compiled by Dan Vicuna. Subscribe to the Gerrymander Gazette here. For more information or to pass along news, contact Dan Vicuna.

Read past issues here.