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November 17, 2021 – Earlier today, national and state redistricting experts briefed the media with a national overview of the status of the current redistricting cycle and the ongoing legal battles against gerrymandering in North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. Each of the experts described how the legislator-led process has resulted in unfair maps that distort political power, silence the voices of communities of interest, particularly Black and Brown voters, and make it harder to hold government accountable. They all urged Congress to swiftly pass the Freedom to Vote Act so states still in the map drawing process have a clear set of guardrails to govern the decennial map drawing exercise and courts have a new set of tools with which to adjudicate those maps that have already passed.
Video link to the recording here.
Select quotes from the briefing, in order of speakers, are below. Regarding the need to help end gerrymandering by passing the Freedom to Vote Act:
“This redistricting cycle is not yet over. There is still time to salvage the next decade of elections for millions of Americans. The Freedom to Vote Act provides the tools voters need right now to secure national redistricting reform that puts power back in the hands of the people, where it belongs. Common Cause and our state organizations are proud to lead the fight against extreme gerrymandering, including taking states to court for their flawed processes and unfair maps,” said Kathay Feng, national redistricting director at Common Cause. Regarding the need to challenge unfair and unrepresentative district maps:
“We, as part of the Fair Maps Texas Action Committee, are suing Governor Abbott over their district maps because they were intentionally drawn to silence Black, Brown, and APPI Texans in a process without a shred of transparency. Texas is just the latest state to suffer through an unfair redistricting process and gerrymandered maps. Without action from Congress this year, we won’t be the last,” said Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas. Regarding the need for a clear definition of partisan gerrymandering:
“For more than two decades, the people of North Carolina have fought for an end to partisan gerrymandering. Once again, partisan politicians have purposefully ignored the voters to ram through gerrymandered maps that destroy our right to free and fair elections. The Freedom to Vote Act provides a clear standard for partisan gerrymandering so we can hold map makers accountable for fair maps. Congress must past the legislation before every state has to suffer through another decade of unfair maps,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. Regarding the need to secure a fair and transparent redistricting process:
“For months, Ohioans have pleaded with state leaders for a fair, transparent, and participatory redistricting process. Yet even after voters overwhelmingly approved redistricting reform in 2018, those in power are showing that they will continue to shut out the voters to manipulate the process and district lines to their political advantage. We need Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act so there are a clear set of rules in place for fairly drawing congressional maps,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio.