Pennsylvania and North Carolina — two states with fairly equal numbers of registered Republicans and Democrats — saw vastly different outcomes in their 2018 congressional elections. The reason: their maps.
In Pennsylvania, Republicans consistently held 13 of the state’s 18 U.S. House of Representative seats since the 2012 elections. However, the districts were redrawn for the 2018 election after the state Supreme Court ruled the 2011 map unconstitutional. With new maps in place, the Republicans and Democrats each won nine districts on Nov. 6. That falls short of what Democrats should have earned based on their vote shares, but it is far closer to a fair result than was produced under the prior map.
In North Carolina Republicans have held 10 of the state’s 13 districts since the 2014 elections, thanks to partisan gerrymandering. The current map is still waiting to be redrawn after a federal court ruled there was not enough time to do so ahead of this year’s midterm election. On Nov. 6, Republicans once again won 10 of the 13 districts.
On Election Day, voters overwhelmingly supported redistricting reforms through state ballot measures across the country. Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah will implement reforms ranging from creating independent commissions to using nonpartisan, statistical models to draw district lines.
These reforms, whether through courts or ballot measures, are a step in the right direction, but they are more of a Band-Aid than a comprehensive cure. The Fair Representation Act offers a better solution, combining multi-member congressional districts drawn through independent redistricting commissions with ranked choice voting, to end gerrymandering while also guaranteeing a House that represents and reflects the people it serves.