Gerrymander Gazette: Grading the States Edition

National Citizen Redistricting Commissioners Conference

ATTENTION CITIZEN REDISTRICTING COMMISSIONERS: On December 11 and 12, Common Cause is hosting a conference in Los Angeles to discuss lessons learned during the 2020 redistricting cycle and how to push for reforms and fair maps in the next cycle. Travel stipends are available for individuals who served on independent, advisory, and model citizen redistricting commissions in the 2020 cycle.

For details, contact Will Brodt at 

CHARGE Community Redistricting Report Card

Earlier this month, Common Cause and our co-authors at Fair Count, National Congress of American Indians, and State Voices released the CHARGE Community Redistricting Report Card. This report gives every state a letter grade for its redistricting process and outcomes based on interviews and survey responses from grassroots activists who fought for fair maps in those states. See how your state did at

We had a great press briefing to unveil our findings and outlets across the country covered how their state performed. Check out some of the coverage by state below. We will continue updating the coverage on this page. 

  • Alabama: Capital B describes how Alabama “earned” a failing grade and looks at organizing in Black communities this redistricting cycle. 
  • Alaska: Indianz notes how redistricting impacted Native Americans in Alaska and other states this cycle.
  • Arizona: Public News Service discusses Common Cause Arizona’s view that allowing political insiders to appoint commissioners is not the best approach. 
  • Colorado: Colorado Newsline highlights how Colorado’s independent commission process greatly improved transparency and public input while describing advocates’ view that improved public outreach will be helpful next cycle. The piece also appeared in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel 
  • Connecticut: CT News Junkie reported on the effectiveness of advocacy to end prison gerrymandering and transparency improvements advocates hoped to see. 
  • Delaware: Common Cause Delaware Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall’s op-ed in the Daily State News details improvements to transparency this cycle and how to reduce partisanship in the process. 
  • Hawaii: KITV and Honolulu Civil Beat discuss how Hawaii’s politician redistricting commission performed.  
  • Idaho: Public News Service describes the Native American community’s disappointment in the state’s maps. Lewiston, Idaho’s Daily Fly also published this story. 
  • Illinois: WMAY quotes the report card’s conclusion that “Illinois represents a nearly perfect model for everything that can go wrong with redistricting.” Illinois Radio Network quotes Common Cause Illinois Executive Director Jay Young stating that “it is critical that we center Illinoisans in the process by making it easier for people to participate and have their voices heard.”  
  • Indiana: Indiana Capital Chronicle tells the story of how Indiana’s partisan and secretive process earned the state a D and how organizers scored victories for communities despite the difficult terrain. This story also appeared in Indiana Public Media, Daily Journal, MNC, and XKE. 
  • Maryland: A Maryland Matters piece discusses how Maryland’s redistricting process builds in some bipartisan protections but earned a C because of illegal partisan gerrymandering and a politician-led process. This piece also appeared in the DCist and Southern Maryland Chronicle. 
  • Massachusetts: The Salem News spotlighted the effective advocacy and transparent process that earned Massachusetts a rare high mark for a state in which legislators draw districts. The piece also appeared in the Cleburne Times-Review and Daily News of Newburyport. 
  • Michigan: Michigan Advance describes how the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission earned high marks for their work with room for improvement. The story was also published by The Daily News, Lansing City Pulse, and Watershed Voice.  
  • Minnesota: Minnesota Reformer discusses how an adherence to the “least-change” approach to redistricting has harmed communities of color in Minnesota. This article also appeared in Voice of Alexandria.  
  • Nebraska: The Omaha World-Herald describes the victories Black and Latino communities won in Nebraska despite the legislature’s lack of interest in public map submissions. This piece was also published in the Grand Island Independent, Lincoln Journal Star, York News-Times, and Wahoo Ashland-Waverly.  
  • New Mexico: The Santa Fe New Mexican dives into how New Mexico’s grade reflects the important work of the new citizens advisory redistricting committee to ensure greater public participation and empowerment of Native American residents. The Santa Fe Reporter quotes Common Cause Policy Director Mason Graham on the importance of making the advisory committee truly independent.  
  • New York: The Olean Times Herald quotes Common Cause New York Executive Director Susan Lerner mincing no words when describing the state’s process as “lousy from beginning to end.” 
  • Ohio: The need for an independent commission came through loud and clear in the coverage of Ohio’s well-earned F grade in and Ohio Capital Journal. The Capital Journal piece also appeared in Athens Messenger, Cincinnati City Beat, Cleveland Scene, Highland County Press, and News 5 Cleveland. 
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s “so-so” grade gets a mention in The Tulsa World. 
  • Oregon: Public News Service and Oregonian describes how outcomes for Native Americans played a role in Oregon’s grade. The Public News Service piece was also published on KCFM and the Oregonian piece also ran in Oregon Capital Chronicle, Herald and News, and Blue Mountain Eagle. 
  • South Dakota: South Dakota Searchlight and Public News Service tell the story of how organizing among Native Americans led to big wins for Indian Country. The Searchlight piece also appeared on KXLG while the PNS piece was published in Black Hills Pioneer, KBHB, and Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan. 
  • Texas: The Kiowa County Press highlights the numerous lawsuits against Texas and how that played into its low grade. 
  • Utah: Public News Service tells the story a tale of two processes – one led by a bipartisan citizens advisory commission that took public input seriously and another led by the legislature driven by partisanship. This story also ran in St. George News. 
  • Virginia: The Washington Examiner looks at how redistricting turned out when a bipartisan commission with both elected officials and ordinary citizens were empowered to draw districts with a state court backstop. James Madison University’s The Breeze newspaper also published this story. 
  • Wyoming: Wyoming News Service describes the mixed bag of public participation and partisanship that resulted in Wyoming’s grade this cycle. Kiowa County Press also published this piece.