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The League of Women Voters
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.


Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled in our partisan gerrymandering cases out of North Carolina and Maryland. While we are disappointed in the Court’s decision that no fair test exists for courts to determine when partisan gerrymandering has gone too far—our work for fair maps has never been more important. 

And there IS a path forward. 

Through the establishment of independent, citizen-led redistricting commissions at the state level to draw electoral districts, we can put power back into the hands of the people, not politicians. Redistricting commissions—such as those passed in Colorado, Michigan, and Utah in 2018—have been highly successful in ensuring that district maps fairly represent the population. 

Fair maps are also possible through Congressional action. The For the People Act, which the League helped to shape earlier this year, includes fair redistricting standards for the entire country. This legislation has already passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but it needs more support in the Senate. The League is pushing for a Senate hearing on this bill so that every American can hear for themselves the content of the For the People Act.

The timing of the decision in Rucho v. LWV of North Carolina (and its companion cases) could not be more crucial as we gear up for the 2020 Census—the subject of another important case the Supreme Court decided yesterday.

The Supreme Court ruled in Department of Commerce v. New York that a citizenship question in the U.S. Census report cannot proceed for 2020. In a key part of the decision, the Court rejected the notion that the purpose of a citizenship question was to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. We celebrate the Court’s ruling and are relieved that the question will not appear in the census questionnaire—but there is still much work to be done.

The 2020 Census will begin on April 1 and will aim to count every individual living in the United States. The data gathered will serve as the launching pad for the 2021 redistricting cycle, when state legislatures will begin designing new district plans for the next decade.

The interdependency of the census, state reapportionment, redistricting, and elections cannot be minimized—and we will be working overtime in the coming months to ensure the most complete possible census count, with a focus on hard-to-count communities.

Chris Carson

Chris Carson

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League of Women Voters

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Washington, DC 20036