Most Americans Distrust Partisan Redistricting, Prefer Independent Commissions

As dozens across the country prepare for their start or finalization the Constitutionally mandated processMost Americans would rather have a nonpartisan commission draw their congressional districts.

Most maps are redrawn, however, by legislatures, which means they’re often crafted by the political party in power, creating a conflict of interest. For example, in Texas, congressional lines were recently redrawn by the legislature and signed into law. Greg Abbott (R) will likely keep Republicans in the majority within that state’s delegationUntil at least the next census occurs.

Americans are, for the most, skeptical about this method of drawing political maps. An Economist/YouGov poll from August found that 50 percent of voters would prefer an independent commission to draw their own state’s congressional districts, while only 17 percent said they would like legislatures to be in charge.

But despite these preferences, most states employ the legislature-drawn method of redrawing maps33 states used this process to do so. Only eight states have independent commissions whose primary purpose is to redraw the congressional boundaries. Two states use a hybrid model.

It is not surprising that Americans view the way maps are set to be drawn over the next year with a deeply skeptical eye. Just 16 percent of voters — less than one-in-six in the U.S. — in that same Economist/YouGov poll think their state’s districts will be redrawn fairly. Forty-four percent say they won’t be drafted in a fair way, while another 40 percent are unsure if they will be.

Americans have right to have concerns about the way that maps are being redrawn. RepresentUs, a non-partisan anticorruption group, says that there are many people who have misgivings about the way maps are being redrawn. at least 35 states are at risk of having their maps “rigged” — that is, to favor one party over another in an unfair way — during this cycle of redistricting.

“The redistricting laws in these states provide little protection against politicians manipulating district maps for partisan or personal gain,” the organization’s report read. “Unless these systems change in the next few months, more than 188 million people will live with the threat of gerrymandering and rigged maps for the next 10 years.”

Like many others with similar goals and calling for Congress to pass the bill, the group called for Congress to do so The For the People ActThis would have required all states adopt nonpartisan redistricting procedures. But that bill was defeated. was blocked by a Republican filibuster in JuneThis bill is similar to the Freedom to Vote Act, which is also available. would have provided safeguards to discourage partisan gerrymandering), was Also, this month was blocked.

Many states are still working on redistricting, and some of them won’t be done until next year. six states have already finalized their maps. Court challenges to the boundaries that they have drawn have only just begun.

For example, there are many Latinx groups in Texas. have already filed a lawsuit after the state legislature passed the redrawn maps last week. While Texas has gained two additional congressional seats as a result of last year’s census, the legislature did not produce any new seats that represent an area where nonwhite populations are the majority of a district’s population — in spite of the fact that Latinx people accounted for more than half of the state’s growth since 2010.

“Texas has a unique record of disregarding the growth of the Latino community that goes back decades and leads to successful lawsuits” like what was filed last week, said Thomas SaenzPresident and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. NBC News. “The maps are typical of that long-standing and unique record of disregard for Latino civil rights.”