New Research: Who Draws the Maps?

brennan

We’ve told you a lot about the movement to improve the way political maps are drawn here in Pennsylvania. We want to also make sure we are keeping you up to date with research about the problem of gerrymandering in general, as well.

That’s why we’re bringing your attention today to some new research published by the nonpartisan nonprofit organization, the Brennan Center.

The report, titled, “Who Draws the Maps? Legislative and Congressional Redistricting,” begins with this intro:

Every ten years, states redraw their congressional and state district lines. Each state determines for itself, usually detailed in the state constitution, who will draw these lines.

The way lines are redrawn can influence who can win the next election and affect the balance of political power, which communities are represented, and what laws are passed. Unfortunately, that power means the process also can be abused. Litigation in a number of states currently is challenging the drawing of maps based on race or partisanship or failure to comply with other legal requirements.

However, the past twenty years also have seen significant growth in efforts to fix the process. While the vast majority of states continue to use the state legislature for drawing districts, there is a growing trend for states to use alternative approaches to mapdrawing. Citizen-driven ballot initiatives sparked redistricting reform in Arizona in 2000 and in California in 2008 and 2010. Since then, New York in 2014 and Ohio in 2015 also have adopted various types of reforms.

The following maps show who currently is responsible for redistricting in the United States.

The entire report is absolutely worth a read. It is available free on the Brennan Center website.

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