More than half of states are at “extreme risk” of unfair congressional maps in the next round of redistricting, according to a nonpartisan analysis reported by Axios.
The next round of redistricting has already been upended by a delayed Census schedule as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But the real big difference from past rounds is two Supreme Court decisions that threaten to make the already-partisan process even more unfair.
The Supreme Court in 2019 ruled that federal courts have no jurisdiction to strike down partisan gerrymanders, leaving such matters to state courts.
The Supreme Court previously ruled in 2013 that states with a history of racial discrimination would no longer be subject to a preclearance requirement that mandated the Justice Department sign off on any new maps.
"It's really just open season in a way that it never has been," Josh Silver, the head of the nonpartisan advocacy group RepresentUs, told Axios.
Concerns of rigged maps:
More than half of states are at “extreme risk” of “rigged maps,” according to the RepresentUs analysis, including swing states like Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin, and North Carolina.
The risk is particularly great in states ruled predominantly by Republicans but seeing significant demographic changes that threaten to upend their hold on power.
"At the end of a 10-year [redistricting] cycle, the state can look very different than it did before," lead researcher Jack Noland told Axios. "That is all the more reason that we need fairer lines from the beginning, to sort of withstand those changes."
Just 7 states have “minimal risk”:
"I think we have a good sense of where there is a prior history of gerrymandering in this country," Noland said. "But what we hadn't seen is an analysis of the laws on the books in these places."
The analysis, which is based on whether the redistricting process is partisan, the transparency of the process, and other factors found that 11 states have high risk across every category while just seven states -- California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Arizona, Washington, and Idaho -- have “minimal risk” of unfair maps.