Dear MoveOn member,
Every ten years, after the census has been completed, congressional districts and electoral maps are redrawn based on the newest data. How they're redrawn impacts voters nationwide for the next decade.
This year, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina are gaining congressional districts, and California, Illinois, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are losing one.1
But it's not just that: Partisan mapmakers, under the influence of self-interested politicians, draw new electoral maps that seek to marginalize Black and brown voters and, in many states, protect right-wing incumbents from competition.2,3 This is on top of the fact that the 2020 census was already highly problematic thanks to Donald Trump and the pandemic, and the data from it is tinged by corrupt influence.4
In 2019, a North Carolina court ruled that their state's legislative district map was unconstitutional because of extreme partisan gerrymandering. Together, we can demand that what happened in North Carolina does not happen again.
Whether your state's districts are drawn by the legislature or by an independent commission, mapmakers need to hear loud and clear that We the People will not be excluded from the redistricting process or silenced by gerrymandering, which lets political insiders and party bosses draw district lines that box out their competition and protect their own power at the expense of our communities.
Now that the 2021 redistricting process has officially begun, we must speak out right now to stop partisan politicians from drawing rigged, unfair maps. Because if we don't, some power-hungry politicians will abuse their control of the process and draw gerrymandered maps—resorting to despicable tactics like "packing and cracking" to limit the political influence of Black and brown voters and protect incumbents from competition.
That's not how our democracy is supposed to work. Voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. And any efforts by politicians to interfere with the process—by using data that was not intended for redistricting or drawing rigged maps that ignore communities' voices—can't be swept under the rug.
That also means making sure that only the best, most precise population data available is used, which comes from the 2020 census. Using another source—especially one that was not designed for drawing maps—or conducting the entire process behind closed doors only creates further opportunities to gerrymander and abuse power.
These maps will shape our state legislatures and Congress for the next ten years. We cannot afford to let politicians draw deeply partisan and racially divisive districts that deprive voters of the chance to elect someone who shares their lived experiences.
–Devon Nir, Common Cause
1. "Which States Will Gain or Lose Seats in the Next Congress," The New York Times, April 26, 2021
2. "The Impact of Partisan Gerrymandering," Center for American Progress, October 1, 2019
3. "How racial gerrymandering deprives black people of political power," The Washington Post, June 9, 2016
4. "Editorial: Let us count the ways Trump has damaged the 2020 census," Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2020
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