The failing grade comes amid federal trial over DeSantis’ rigged voting map
FLORIDA —Today, Common Cause, the leading anti-gerrymandering group, published a report grading the 2020 redistricting process in all 50 states from the view of the community. The comprehensive report evaluates public access, outreach, and education in each state based on an analysis of more than 120 detailed surveys and more than 60 interviews.
Florida landed in the bottom six states in the country, earning a F. The report found Florida’s redistricting cycle had lacked public participation, public education, and transparency. There was only one main opportunity for a public hearing and only in one city in 65,000 square miles of the state, forcing many to travel up to 500 miles. Additionally, the state made information about the process difficult to find and only available in English.
In the case of congressional redistricting, the public had no opportunity to view or participate in public hearings or debate. Governor DeSantis bullied the legislature into adopting a voting map that intentionally silenced Black Floridians in North Florida. The congressional map is currently in federal court after Common Cause Florida, the NAACP, Fair Districts Now and several individual voters challenged it violates the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
“It’s no surprise that Florida received an F for its 2020 redistricting process when some voting districts were approved without a single public hearing,” said Amy Keith, Common Cause Florida program director. “Governor DeSantis strong-armed the state legislature to silence Black voters in North Florida. We won’t let that go unchallenged—and it’s why we were proud to take the Governor to federal court earlier this month and eagerly await a decision that protects voters’ right to choose their representatives in Congress.”
Common Cause graded each state for its state level redistricting. Some states received a second grade for their local redistricting process in cases where advocates provided data. Each interview and survey asked participants about the accessibility of the process, the role of community groups, the organizing landscape, and the use of communities of interest criteria.
“After a close look at all 50 states, this report shows more community voices produce better maps,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause national redistricting director. “When everyone can meaningfully participate and have their input reflected in the final maps, that’s how we achieve fair elections voters can trust. We found voting districts that prioritize community interests are the gateway to elections that lead to strong schools, a fair economy, and affordable healthcare.”
Common Cause found the most powerful reform is independent, citizen-led commissions where voters—rather than elected officials—administer the process and hold the power of the pen to draw maps. Independent commissioners were found to be more interested in fair representation and community input— rather than electability or party control.
The report was authored by Common Cause, Fair Count, State Voices, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The report was published in collaboration with the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting and Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE), which includes Common Cause, Fair Count, League of Women Voters, Mi Familia Vota, NAACP, NCAI, State Voices, APIAVote, and the Center for Popular Democracy.
To view the report online, click here.