Redistricting threat to new multiracial America, tips on impacting redistricting hearings ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
Brennan Center logo
Data released by the Census Bureau in August showed that for the first time in history, all of the nation’s population growth came from people of color. Some of the most profound demographic changes are taking place in the nation’s suburbs, where over half of people of color in metro areas now live, and where diverse, multiracial coalitions are increasingly contesting for and winning political power. Yet, as the Brennan Center’s Michael Li warned, “the redrawing of electoral districts after the 2020 Census will give political operatives a chance to kneecap the new multiracial America just as it is being born.” Changing the trajectory of the coming redistricting train wreck for communities of color will require bold, urgent action by Congress, Li said.
Making Effective Comments at Redistricting Hearings
While everyday citizens may think public comments at redistricting hearings are largely ignored, a study by the Brennan Center’s Peter Miller that examined dozens of hearings during the last redistricting cycle found that nearly half of comments had some impact on final maps. But some comments were far more impactful than others. From thinking small to defining your community, here are six helpful tips on how to have the biggest impact at redistricting hearings.
Redistricting in the News
  • With the Senate back from its late summer recess, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have introduced a revised voting rights bill called the Freedom to Vote Act that would make the most significant reforms in history to the way congressional districts are drawn and how disputes about maps are litigated. Read our summary of the changes. An initial vote on the bill is expected the week of September 20.
  • Last week, the Ohio Redistricting Commission voted along partisan lines to introduce legislative maps proposed by state senate Republicans for public consideration — more than one week after the September 1 deadline mandated by the Ohio Constitution, enraging many Ohioans. The plan itself drew fire for favoring incumbent Republicans and failing to consider the impact of maps on communities of color. The commission faces a September 15 deadline to adopt a final map, though some advocates have urged it to take more time.
  • In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that a third special session of the legislature will convene on September 20 to draw legislative and congressional districts and consider several other controversial bills. Two state senators have already filed a lawsuit and requested a preliminary injunction, hoping that federal judges will intervene and draw the districts instead of the legislature.
  • A Michigan resident has sued the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission in anticipation that it will not pass a map before its constitutional deadlines. The commission has been criticized for its slow pace, lack of transparency, and hiring of professionals with highly partisan backgrounds.
  • In Colorado, the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission’s nonpartisan staff is set to release a revised redistricting plan after their first plan received significant pushback from voters and commissioners. The commission has until September 28 to finalize a plan before sending it to the state supreme court for review.
  • Alabama has dropped its lawsuit challenging the differential privacy policies used by the Census Bureau in 2020 to ensure that census respondents’ identities remain confidential.
  • On Monday, the Nebraska Legislature entered a special session to draw legislative and congressional districts. After Democratic and Republican senators could not agree on a single proposal, they agreed to present two maps to the public for comment. Because Republicans do not have enough votes to overcome a filibuster, some have suggested there could be a compromise of the map.
  • The New York Independent Redistricting Commission unveiled competing Democratic and Republican proposals for state assembly, state senate and U.S. House districts. The Democratic-controlled state legislature may still reject commission maps and draw its own.