Redistricting, or the process of drawing political boundaries, is an issue that Leagues around the country are heavily focused on this year. In states across the country, the League is working to put the power to draw lines in the hands of the people, not politicians. Through legislation, coalition work, and litigation the League is actively promoting independent redistricting free from partisan and racial gerrymandering.
This November, voters in four states are considering ballot initiatives that would change the way their state legislative and congressional district lines are drawn. The four initiatives will make redistricting in these states fair and independent.
In Colorado, the League has been involved with the ballot initiative since the very beginning, helping to draft the language of the initiative and bring coalition partners together in the state. Amendments Y and Z will create independent commissions to draw congressional and state legislative maps, set clear criteria that prohibits gerrymandering, and ensure fair and effective representation for all Colorado voters. The League has been running an education campaign and successfully held tele-town halls around the state that connected with over 20,000 voters on this issue.
In Michigan, Proposal 2 establishes a commission of citizens with exclusive authority to adopt district boundaries for state legislative and congressional districts. This initiative has been led by citizens across Michigan and the League has helped to collect signatures and has endorsed the proposal. The League of Women Voters of Michigan has hosted over 30 town halls throughout the state to educate the public on the importance of redistricting.
Redistricting is also on the ballot in Missouri as part of a package of reforms aimed at cleaning up Missouri politics. Amendment 1 will increase transparency in the legislature, close lobbying loopholes and lower contribution limits for legislative candidates. It will also ensure that political parties are not given an unfair advantage when it comes to drawing legislative maps through the appointment of an independent demographer. This nonpartisan expert is appointed by legislative leadership from a pool of applicants selected by the state auditor to draw fair legislative districts which are then reviewed by a citizen commission. The League of Women Voters of Missouri has been holding forums across the state to talk with voters about the amendment, sponsoring billboards and connecting with voters over the phone.
Utah is the fourth state where voters are considering a redistricting measure. Proposition 4, which has broad bipartisan support, will create a seven-member independent redistricting commission tasked with drafting state legislative and congressional maps. It will also create a transparent process and allow citizens to participate in public meetings, see the data used to draw the maps, and participate in map drawing themselves. The League of Women Voters of Utah has been working statewide to educate voters about the initiative through community events across Utah.
If you live in one of these states, please make sure to check Vote411.org, the League’s one-stop shop for all of your election day needs, before you head to the polls. On VOTE411.org you can see a sample ballot of redistricting and other ballot initiatives you’ll be asked to vote on. The League will continue to be actively engaged on these ballot proposals and will work to defend them against whatever challenges that emerge following the election.