Improvements needed in transparency and public education and inclusion
GEORGIA— 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.
Georgia’s local redistricting received an “F” for state overreach of local elected officials, lack of transparency and rushed efforts, and not enough opportunities for public debate. Georgia’s state level redistricting received a “D” for lack of language accessibility, transparency, and no opportunities for public debate once voting maps were drafted.
“It’s no surprise Georgia received failing grades for redistricting when voters were shut out at almost every point of the process,” said Aunna Dennis, Common Cause Georgia executive director. “What played out is what happens when those in power will do anything to stay in power, even if it means silencing the voters they are elected to represent. We have a long way to go before we get to a place where every Georgian has a seat at the table in redistricting.”
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.