The latest on what we’re doing and what we’re paying attention to.
In advance of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments today in the Gill v. Whitford case, which could decide the future of extreme partisan redistricting, the Voter Participation Center’s Founder and President, Page Gardner, issued the following statement:
“The Supreme Court has an opportunity to restore voters’ rights to have their voices heard by choosing who represents them, rather than politicians choosing their voters. Unless we unrig our system, extreme partisan redistricting will continue to limit the power and influence that the votes of unmarried women, communities of color, and young people have in our democracy because they get stuck with politicians who don’t address their needs.
“It’s never been more important for people to get involved in the electoral process and use their votes to hold politicians accountable. Americans are sick of the gridlock and pettiness caused by extreme partisan gerrymandering. Politicians manufacture safe districts for themselves and their pals, and never have to reach across the aisle or take a hard look at policies that will help their communities. It’s past time for ending partisan gerrymandering so politicians can finally return to working on behalf of their constituents, not their partisan allies.”
- The Gill v. Whitford case before the Supreme Court centers on partisan redistricting in Wisconsin, where politicians in 2011 rigged their state legislature districts to overwhelmingly favor one party over the other.
- As a result, Republicans control 60 percent of the state legislature, despite Democrats earning a majority of the vote in 2012 and 2014.
- A panel of three federal judges found the partisan Wisconsin map to violate the First and 14th Amendments to the Constitution and was the first time in decades that a court had invalidated a redistricting map because of extreme partisanship.
- If the Supreme Court sides against Wisconsin’s partisan gerrymandering, it could set up a metric called the “efficiency gap,” which would be a legal tool to determine whether a district is unconstitutionally partisan and could be challenged in court.
- A recent study from the Brennan Center found that as many as 16-17 U.S. House districts are drawn to heavily favor a Republican candidate and that “this decade’s congressional maps are consistently biased in favor of Republicans.”