Redistricting Reform Breakthrough

Civil Rights, Democracy Organizations Unite Around "Redistricting Principles For A More Perfect Union"

San Francisco — A diverse coalition of 16 civil rights and democracy organizations unveiled today a set of principles that should guide any process for drawing legislative lines. Endorsing organizations include: Advancement Project, American Civil Liberties Union, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Brennan Center for Justice, CHANGE Illinois, Common Cause, Demos, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, NALEO Educational Fund, Prison Policy Initiative, and Southern Coalition for Social Justice.    

Redistricting Principles for a More Perfect Union” identifies 10 basic reforms every state should implement as part of their redistricting process to ensure accuracy, fairness, public engagement, and transparency.

“These principles represent a strong commitment from Common Cause and our voting rights partners to ensuring that representative districts are drawn to give citizens the power to choose their elected leaders instead of the other way around,” said Miles Rapoport, President of Common Cause. “Empowering communities to make their voices heard and creating a transparent process to prioritize the rights of individual citizens will strengthen our democracy.”

“Through these important principles, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and its partners seek to empower and protect the rights of all voters, particularly those voters of color most vulnerable to discrimination, in the redistricting process. These principles are guided by an important democracy-inclusion principle that seeks to both encourage and empower more people to participate in the political process. Adhering to these guiding principles will help safeguard against racial discrimination in the redistricting process, and better provide voters of color the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice,” said Ryan P. Haygood, Director of the NAACP Legal Defense Funds’s Political Participation Group.

“According to the 2010 Census, the Asian American community grew by 46% across the nation. The fastest growth of Asian American population occurred in states with checkered histories in redistricting such as Georgia, Texas and North Carolina to name but a few. It is imperative that the next round of districting in 2020 accurately captures the Asian American community growth. The Redistricting Principles for a More Perfect Union unveiled today will help achieve this goal. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC is proud to stand with Common Cause and our voting rights partners in endorsing this important roadmap for our democracy,” stated Carl Hum, Vice President for Policy and Programs, Asian Americans Advancing Justice — AAJC.

“Voters should be confident that they truly have a say in who represents them. In the redistricting principles unveiled today, we are demanding a process that is fair, transparent and ensures that voters have a meaningful voice in our democracy,” observed Marcia Johnson-Blanco, Co-director, Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “A year ago, the Supreme Court gutted a key protection of the Voting Rights Act. That decision illustrates the importance of broadly incorporating principles that promote fair representation into both state and federal law. The Lawyers’ Committee commits to engaging in the fight to make this possible.”

“Successful redistricting is critical to our democracy, yet the redistricting process seems to receive relatively brief, once-a-decade attention from policymakers and the public,” stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel.  “These unified principles, promulgated by civil rights and good government groups, are an important anticipatory step toward an improved redistricting process, regardless of map drawer, in future years; we look forward to working toward their adoption across the nation.”