With anti-gerrymandering efforts gaining steam, Republicans in some states are mobilizing to protect their ability to continue rigging election maps. In late April, a Republican group backed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce sued to keep a popular redistricting reform measure off the state’s November ballot. Arizona’s GOP-controlled legislature last week narrowly failed to pass a bill that would have given the party much more control over the map-drawing process. And Pennsylvania Republicans, who recently mulled impeaching a group of state judges who struck down their gerrymander, this week gutted reform legislation.
Following the 2010 Census, the GOP used its control of key redistricting battlegrounds to draw district lines that have given it a major advantage in elections this decade. In response, voters frustrated by recent elections’ skewed outcomes have launched grassroots movements to fix the process before the next round of legislative and congressional map-drawing gets underway in 2021.
The biggest battle, of course, is at the Supreme Court, which since last fall has heard two different challenges to partisan gerrymandering and could issue a major ruling on the issue in the coming months. And the GOP has joined the fight there, too: Among the groups that submitted briefs to the court arguing in favor of protecting lawmakers’ right to gerrymander are the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican State Leadership Committee.
But it’s the state-level efforts that lately have taken center stage.