For years, Republicans have used their political power to draw unfair maps to favor their candidates and their agenda. But this issue, “gerrymandering,” is greater than lines on a map. It has many severe implications, and we see the effects of gerrymandering every day — in diminishing access to affordable health care, repeated attacks on reproductive rights, and the intentional stripping of voting access, to name a few examples.
This issue has rocked our country for years. Just recently, in North Carolina, a state court panel ruled that its state legislative maps were an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and ordered lawmakers to draw up new maps.
The way district lines are drawn affects how our Congress is shaped. And we need a Congress that better reflects our country’s demographics. Gerrymandering has caused an imbalance between the electorate and who actually gets elected, and has led to an electoral process that incentivizes obstruction.
As gerrymandering creates more and more partisan districts, politicians are forced to become increasingly polarized. Instead of finding common ground for the benefit of the American people, both sides of the aisle are punished if they are seen working with the other side.
We need lawmakers to work together to improve the country. Even Republicans, who are gaining an electoral advantage in the short-term, are missing critical opportunities to pass sound policy. In this scenario, everyone loses.
You may ask, who is working to solve the gerrymandering issues? The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) is working to make sure every vote counts by fighting for fair districts with new and accurate maps. They are leading initiatives like the Fair Districts Pledge for Candidates and Elected Officials, and All On The Line, an advocacy campaign dedicated to fighting against gerrymandering at a grassroots level.
And our country needs everyone to step up and demand an overhaul to redistricting, to protect our democracy and voting rights. There are upcoming elections that will be very significant in this fight and that need our support. In Virginia, Democrats have the opportunity to take back the State Senate and House of Delegates, which will make a huge impact on redistricting Virginia. The results will also likely serve as a barometer for what’s to come in the rest of the country.
Elections, however, rely on voters being able to exercise their voting rights without obstacles.
In 2014, 270 helped launch iVote to make voting rights a front and center issue and make it easier for Americans to register to vote. Over the past several cycles, iVote initiatives have helped fight voter suppression and expanded voting access through programs like automatic voter registration. iVote seeks to make sure everyone has a chance to vote, and to change laws to amplify the voice of the people. They ask the question: “What if everyone voted?” The short answer: Our country would look drastically different.
Voters want real solutions, sound policy, and forward momentum. That will only happen when fair, non-partisan redistricting becomes a reality.