Brief Redistricting Roundup

The last few months have been busy with redistricting court rulings and continued Republican attempts to draw unfair district lines. Here's a quick summary and some links:

  • On Friday, March 10th, in Texas, a three-judge panel ruled the 2011 redistricting plan discriminated against minority voters, in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Full story on CNN.com.
  • On March 1st, the Supreme Court instructed the lower court to review again the district lines drawn in Virginia as they found the lower court did not apply the appropriate standards to conclude the state legislature's efforts were constitutional. Washington Post story.
  • This is one of the most significant. In Wisconsin, the federal court has ordered the state legislature to redraw their districts based on the finding that the current borders favor one party (Republican) over the other (Democratic). This will be the first time in a decade that lawmakers will have to redraw maps specifically to make them more fair for both parties. Full story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • There are other cases pending related to Alabama, North Carolina, and Maryland; the latter of which, the Democrats are the ones being challenged for drawing unfair district borders. Washington Post story with a recap.
  • Finally, in Georgia, the Republican-dominated state legislature fast-tracked a bill reassigning precincts across multiple districts to consolidate minority voters in one district, limiting their influence. Full story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This latest action in Georgia is the prototypical approach that Republican lawmakers are taking to subtly but significantly alter district maps to suit their partisan needs. The progress these cases are making in the high courts is welcome news but needs more support. One of the organizations that we're following closely is the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). Take a look at their site, sign-up for news, and donate.