Redistricting Reform in the States: A 50-State Analysis

Posted by Joe Sroka on June 01, 2011

Redistricting Reform in the States: A 50-State AnalysisWith the completion of the 2010 Census, state legislatures are now in the process of the decennial redrawing of congressional, state, and local electoral districts. The process of creating new boundary lines is highly partisan and often comes at the expense of voters. By gerrymandering districts, legislators and their political allies use redistricting to choose their voters instead of giving voters the opportunity to choose them.

A previous version of this report reviewed state attempts to improve this system through redistricting reform for 2009-10. This update seeks to report on redistricting bills introduced, passed, stalled, or implemented by state legislatures and voters through June 2011.

This review of redistricting reform in the states presents a mix of optimism and frustration for supporters of redistricting in the public interest. Of the many proposals addressed by the fifty state legislatures in the last two years, few have passed. Most of the proposals have died or are stuck in committee. Other proposals fall short of creating fully nonpartisan, independent redistricting panels. Given the fact that laws in many states prohibit redistricting more than once a decade, few states are likely to redistrict with any new, less partisan procedures before 2021 at the earliest.

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