Today, redistricting experts from Common Cause and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice’s briefed the media on the state-level victories in the fight to secure fair maps and protect voting rights. The panel of national and state leaders showcased the citizen-centered movements and legal cases driving successful wins in North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. They pointed to litigation, organizing, and advocacy as the keys to stopping gerrymandering that threatens Black and Brown voters’ political power.
In case you missed today’s briefing, you can find the video link here. Select quotes from the briefing, in order of speakers, are below.
Regarding gerrymandering as a threat to communities of color:
“We are seeing state after state intentionally draw maps that silence communities of color at the ballot box. Thanks to the tireless work of state leaders and advocates, we’re winning powerful victories for the people in state court. Working with partners like the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, we will continue engaging thousands of activists and use every tool at our disposal to defeat maps that harm Black and Brown voters,” said Suzanne Almeida, Common Cause Redistricting and Representation Counsel.
Regarding the success of litigation in state court:
“In North Carolina, we filed litigation to make clear it is never admissible to build political power on the backs of communities of color—and the State Supreme Court agreed. The ruling is one more nail in the coffin of gerrymandering in North Carolina and a powerful reminder of what’s possible when you combine litigation with grassroots advocacy,” said Bob Phillips, Common Cause North Carolina Executive Director.
Regarding the need for litigation to protect voting rights:
“All across the country, state legislators are drawing maps that undermine the power of voters from Black, Brown, and other communities of color. When voters lose their right to an equal say at the ballot box, they lose the right to determine their own futures. That’s why in states like North Carolina, we are proud to take our case to court to protect voting rights. Working with partners like Common Cause, we’ll continue to engage in grassroots advocacy and litigation to ensure there are appropriate guardrails in place to secure fair maps,” said Allison Riggs, Southern Coalition for Social Justice Co-Executive Director and Chief Counsel.
Regarding the need for community-created map drawing:
“In Pennsylvania, we were proud to submit a community-drawn map, with significant public input, that prioritizes the needs of the people ahead of politicians or political candidates. Voters from across the political spectrum joined together to say to our state legislators: we want fair maps. It’s in that spirit that we will continue our relentless fight for maps at every turn of this year’s redistricting cycle. We won’t stop until every Pennsylvanian voter has a voice in our democracy, regardless of political affiliation, race, or background,” said Khalif Ali, Common Cause Pennsylvania Executive Director.
Regarding the need for grassroots advocacy at the state level:
“Ohio voters scored two major victories in the fight for fair maps this year when the State Supreme Court struck down a gerrymandered congressional map and twice struck down state legislative maps. While we are pleased the Court upheld the will of the voters, these victories would not have been possible without the grassroots movement that won redistricting reform in 2015 and 2018. Ohioans know and care about the importance of fair districts for all voters—Democrats and Republicans alike. With all the work that went into the redistricting reform victories, you can be sure Ohioans will not stop pushing until we have achieved fair maps,” said Mia Lewis, Common Cause Ohio Associate Director.