For just about all of the nation’s history, politicians would fight over redistricting for a short period after each once-a-decade census, then forget about congressional maps until the next reapportionment.
Now, a string of lawsuits and in-the-works state referendums are poised to redefine the battles over state legislative and congressional lines and leave the country in a state of perpetual redistricting.
The dynamic is an escalation of the scattered redistricting battles over the last decade. Not since 2012 and 2014 have all 50 states’ congressional lines remained constant for consecutive elections, a streak unlikely to be broken next year. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee estimates that up to 29 seats in 14 states could be redrawn based on lawsuits that have already been filed. Scores more seats could change if the Supreme Court rules later this year that state legislators have ultimate authority to draw the lines….
he next movement on redistricting is likely to come in Ohio and North Carolina, where Republicans who control the state governments are poised to redraw congressional maps to give their party an added advantage. Texas lawmakers are also redrawing their maps.
Democrats have challenged maps in four states — Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas — for violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act that prohibits racial discrimination. Democrats have also filed a lawsuit in state courts in their effort to undo congressional maps in Florida and Utah.
In New Mexico, Republicans are suing to overturn congressional district maps.
And the outcome of the Wisconsin Supreme Court election in April will determine whether a Republican-drawn gerrymander of state legislative lines survives. Four other states — Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania — have state Supreme Court elections in the next five years that could shift the balance of power and change how district lines are drawn.