Major Census Quality Check Spotlights Persistent Undercounts ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
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[Redistricting Roundup]
The State of Play
Thirty-nine of the forty-four states with more than one congressional district have finalized new congressional maps as of March 17, 2022. Only Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio do not yet have final new congressional maps. Likewise forty-three states have finalized new legislative maps, with only Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Vermont, and Wyoming still to go.
The Brennan Center has two trackers you can use to keep up with the redistricting cycle. Our Redistricting Map Tracker contains links to all of the newly passed maps, while our Redistricting Litigation Roundup outlines the legal cases pending over new plans.
All told, 58 cases around the country have challenged newly passed congressional or legislative maps as racially discriminatory or partisan gerrymanders — or both.
Featured Pieces
Major Census Quality Check Spotlights Persistent Undercounts
The Census Bureau recently released its Post-Enumeration Survey which found that despite the Trump administration’s attempts to interfere with a fair count and the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no statistically significant undercount of the overall population.
However, as the Brennan Center’s Clara Fong and Kelly Percival point out, “that national statistic hides the more alarming trend of racially inequitable undercounts, an issue the census has consistently faced. The Post-Enumeration Survey shows that in 2020, people who identify as Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Alaskan Natives living on reservations, or Some Other Race were significantly undercounted, while white non-Hispanic and Asian people were overcounted, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander people were neither overcounted nor undercounted. The Hispanic population, moreover, went undercounted at over three times the rate it was in 2010.”
Fong and Percival write that the results also provide an opportunity to reflect and look ahead to the 2030 count: “An equitable census that counts all groups equally well would not only produce more accurate numbers, it would result in a distribution of political power and funding where every community gets its fair share. The 2020 Post-Enumeration Survey results underscore the need for the Census Bureau and Congress to work together to ensure that the next decennial census does better.”
Supreme Court Should Shut Down Bid to Rewrite Elections Clause
The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined a request to block the congressional plans adopted by the state supreme courts in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, allowing the maps to be used for the 2022 midterms, but teeing up a case for the next term that could radically limit the role of state courts in redistricting.
The Republican legislators challenging the court-drawn rest their case on a deeply flawed legal theory known as the Independent State Legislature Theory (ISLT).
But as the Brennan Center’s Tom Wolf and Ethan Herenstein explain, “The ISLT is based on an implausible reading of the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause . . . Under this fringe theory, state legislatures are the only state body that can regulate congressional elections — not governors, state judges, or even state constitutions . . . No matter what North Carolina’s legislative leaders might hope or pretend, the ISLT has hit a dead end on its path through their state’s courts. The Supreme Court should let this one rest and seriously rethink the chaos it is courting.”
VIRTUAL EVENT SERIES: Drawing the Line: How Redistricting Impacts Latino Communities in North Carolina
Hispanic Federation and the Brennan Center are co-hosting a series of panels that will provide an update on the redistricting process in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Panelists will discuss the impact that the new maps will have on the Latino community, upcoming elections, and representation at all levels. RSVP
  • North Carolina: Thursday, March 24 | 3 p.m. ET:
    Speakers: Fatima Diop, Vice Chair, International Advisory Committee of Greensboro // Lariza Garzón, North Carolina Director, Hispanic Federation // State Rep. Ricky Hurtado, District 63 // Manuel Mejía Diaz, Southeast Regional Managing Organizer, Democracy NC // Iliana Santillán, Executive Director, El Pueblo // Moderator: Gabriella Limón, Research and Program Associate, Brennan Center Democracy Program
  • Florida: Thursday, March 31 | 10:30 a.m. ET
  • Texas: Thursday, April 7 | 1 p.m. ET
  • Georgia: Thursday, April 14 | 11 a.m. ET
Featured Maps
After weeks of speculation, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has vetoed the congressional plan passed by the Republican-controlled legislature. Edwards said, “I have vetoed the proposed congressional map drawn by Louisiana’s Legislature because it does not include a second majority African American district, despite Black voters making up almost a third of Louisianans per the latest U.S. Census data.”
Source: These maps were created with data from the Louisiana State Legislature with the assistance of Dave’s Redistricting App.
The vetoed plan (left) did not significantly alter existing district boundaries, leaving Black voters with the ability to elect in only one out six congressional districts. Republicans are now debating whether to pursue an override of the governor’s veto, which would require a two-thirds majority of both houses and at least some support from Democrats.
In contrast, several maps submitted by a coalition of civil rights groups include a second majority-Black district, such as the map on the right, which creates one along the Mississippi Delta.
Redistricting in the News
For the third time the Ohio Supreme Court has struck down the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s legislative maps. The 4-3 majority opinion sharply critiqued the committee’s deliberations thus far: “The commission should retain an independent map drawer – who answers to all commission members, not only to the Republican legislative leaders – to draft a plan through a transparent process…Resolving this self-created chaos thus depends not on the number of hands on the computer mouse but, rather, on the political will to honor the people’s call to end partisan gerrymandering." The court set a March 28 deadline by which the commission must pass a fourth set of maps. Redrawing the maps likely will delay the state’s May 3 primary. Meanwhile, as the Ohio Supreme Court considers a revised congressional map, Justice Sharon Kennedy, a Republican who has dissented in all of the redistricting cases and is running to be the court’s chief justice, described redistricting as “the fight of our life” at a state Republican fundraising dinner.
Read more about the Brennan Center’s involvement in Ohio Organizing Collaborative v. Ohio Redistricting Commission.
Even after the Florida legislature amended their proposed congressional map in an attempt to win over Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), he is still promising to veto it and call lawmakers back into session, hoping they will vote for the map drawn by his office, which would eliminate the districts currently held by Reps. Val Demings and Al Lawson, both Black Democrats. Groups of voters have already filed a pair of lawsuits, one in state court and one in federal court, asking judges to draw the state’s congressional districts.
Republicans in Wisconsin are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state supreme court’s decision to adopt the legislative maps favored by Gov. Tony Evers (D), which the majority saw as the most in line with its “least-change” approach. Republicans are claiming that the map improperly applies the Voting Rights Act in adding a majority-Black district in Milwaukee. Voting rights activists claim that argument is made in bad faith, as the Black population across the state has grown in the last decade. Justice Amy Coney Barrett has requested responses by the parties in this lawsuit and the challenge to Wisconsin’s new congressional map.
Filibusters in the Missouri Senate have stalled passage of the new congressional plan that already cleared the Missouri House. Anticipating that this deadlock will continue, voters affiliated with the National Redistricting Action Fund have filed a lawsuit requesting that federal courts intervene by declaring the current districts unconstitutionally malapportioned and creating their own plan before the state’s candidate filing deadline on March 29.
The Kansas Supreme Court has declined to immediately take up a lawsuit over the state’s congressional plan, meaning that state district court judges will be the first to rule on the map’s constitutionality. The Kansas senate president has indicated that the legislature may need to remain in session until the lawsuits are decided, in case the court forces them to redraw it.
Expert witnesses have finished testifying in the lawsuit over New York’s redistricting plans. The Republican petitioners have chosen Sean Trende, one of the two special masters who created Virginia’s new plans late last year, as one of their witnesses. Oral arguments are scheduled for the end of March with the judge constitutionally required to decide the case by April 4.
New Hamphire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has said that he will veto the congressional redistricting map passed by the legislature. The map would create one Democratic district and one Republican district. Sununu instead favors a plan with two competitive districts that could be won by either party.
You can find earlier editions of our Redistricting Roundup here.