Every decade, states draw new district maps for congressional and state legislative races. Politicians often use this power to give their party an unfair advantage by drawing maps in which favor their own parties — a scheme known as gerrymandering.
Nascent efforts at gerrymandering go back to the founding era, but today, increasingly sophisticated software coupled with ever more robust data about voters means it can be carried out much more effectively than ever before. Over the past decade, that’s led to maps that lock in a comfortable majority of seats for one side, even when voters are split evenly between the two parties. The result is election outcomes that don’t reflect what voters want, uncompetitive races that encourage politicians to cater to the extremes, and, too often, under-representation of communities of color.
With the next round of redistricting taking place in 2021, the Brennan Center for Justice is fighting for fair maps – a fight that has become all the more important now that the Supreme Court has said it won’t step in to help police abuses. We’re leading a campaign to put independent commissions, not partisan politicians, in charge of drawing districts — an increasingly popular and successful reform. And we’re working with states to make sure the process is guided by transparency, bipartisanship, and public input — so that maps reflect the will of voters, allow for competitive races, and fairly represent communities of color.