With the decision by the Supreme Court to punt on two partisan gerrymandering cases in front of it (one from Wisconsin, the other from Maryland), voting rights advocates are left wondering if the Court will make a ruling on the subject. In a blog for Voices and Choices, FairVote’s Alex Ault expressed confidence that “the Court will recognize partisan gerrymanders as an egregious and undemocratic violation of the Constitution” and a fix could happen when another case – most likely from North Carolina – is brought forth.
Until then, a remedy could come from Congress in the form of the The Fair Representation Act. More likely, it may be from voters themselves.
In a recently-published perspective piece in The Washington Post, FairVote Senior Fellow David Daley (co-written with Catherine Vaughn) suggest that ballot initiatives in several states to create independent redistricting commissions provides some hope. The pair note Arizona and California already use independent groups for congressional line drawing, based on “nonpartisan standards like compactness and keeping related communities together.” Meanwhile Maine has adopted ranked choice voting in an effort to make its elections fairer and better reflect the will of the majority of its citizens.
The authors write:
These ballot initiatives are being driven by citizen groups who recognize the game has been rigged for too long. Interest in state elections has grown as people realize the best way to change policy is to change our representatives — and the best way to achieve fair districts is to change who gets to draw the lines.
So while it would be optimal for the highest court in our land to finally strike down partisan gerrymandering, it’s great to see the mantel picked up by we citizens… where the power of our democracy truly is held.