The redistricting provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act have a number of differences from the earlier For the People Act. Some of them are BIG. A thread 🧵 #fairmaps 1/
First, the partisan gerrymandering section now has a rebuttable presumption that a plan violates the anti-gerrymandering clause if certain metrics are met. A party can ask the court to determine whether the presumption has been triggered by filing a motion. #fairmaps 2/
If a party makes such motion, the court must hold a hearing within 15 days and conduct an assessment using the two most recent presidential and Senate elections in the state. #fairmaps 3/
If the court determines that the rebuttable presumption has been triggered, a state is *automatically* barred from using its map until the partisan gerrymandering claim can be litigated in full and the state successfully rebuts the presumption. #fairmaps 4/
If the case cannot be resolved in time for the next primary election, the court is directed to adopt an interim map and/or make adjustments to the primary schedule to allow for resolution of the claim. #fairmaps 5/
Then there are big changes to how redistricting cases get litigated. Cases could be brought *either* in the federal district court in the state capital OR in Washington DC, with the exception that partisan gerrymandering cases could *only* be brought in DC. #fairmaps 6/
Redistricting cases challenging a congressional plan on a statewide basis would continue to be heard by 3-judge panels under section 2284, BUT appeals would go to the DC Circuit instead of directly to SCOTUS. #fairmaps 7/
SCOTUS could hear redistricting cases on appeal from the DC Circuit but the appeal would be through the certiorari process rather than as an appeal under its mandatory jurisdiction. #fairmaps 8/
This would create an appellate structure similar to how patent appeals work. Cases get litigated in district courts all around the country but appeals are then funneled through the Federal Circuit in Washington. #fairmaps 9/
There are also a number of smaller but significant changes. One is a provision making clear states cannot use state criteria or policies (such as incumbent protection or preserving the cores of districts) as an excuse for non-compliance with the bill’s map rules. #fairmaps 10/
This is a perpetual fight in redistricting cases right now. States routinely defend discriminate maps with excuses like, we were just trying to ensure that districts are maximally compact or that we didn’t pair incumbents. #fairmaps 11/
So in short, a lot of things in the redistricting sections of the Freedom to Vote that weren’t in the FTPA. But there also is one omission: Commissions. #fairmaps 12/
The FTPA would have required states to use independent commissions to draw congressional maps. But the Freedom to Vote Act leaves that choice up to states - while imposing uniform rules on how they do it and strengthening remedies. #fairmaps 13/
Here’s our full memo analyzing the redistricting sections of the Freedom to Vote Act.… #fairmaps 14/

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More from @mcpli

14 Sep
I want to highlight one aspect of the partisan gerrymandering provisions of the Freedom to Vote Act (FTVA) which is not new but bears emphasis. Namely, the the provision looks both at intent *and* effect. Either can invalidate a map. #fairmaps 1/
That’s very different than when partisan gerrymandering cases were being litigated under the Constitution when liability was premised upon showing intent. Effect was relevant but only if it helped establish intent. #fairmaps 2/
And even if you could establish effect, lawmakers had the out of showing that effect was not intentional but rather due to “neutral” reasons - which could range from compactness to preserving the cores of districts to incumbent protection. #fairmaps 3/
Read 5 tweets
11 Aug
Lots of questions going around about whether it is too late to pass federal redistricting reforms for this decade with redistricting data coming out tomorrow. Short answer: It is not. Longer answer in this thread 🧵 #fairmaps #S1 #HR1 #ForThePeople 1/
Longer answer: It’s not too late, *but* states are going to start drawing and passing maps in a matter of weeks and to have optimal effect reforms would be in place before that happens. So the clock is ticking. #fairmaps #S1 #HR1 #ForThePeople 2/
The longer Congress waits, the less robust reforms risk being. For example, right now, the bill has strong transparency & public participation requirements and mandates that states release an analysis of maps before they are voted on. #fairmaps #S1 #HR1 #ForThePeople 3/
Read 14 tweets
2 Aug
With another cycle of redistricting just a couple of weeks away, no voting reform is more urgent or time sensitive than fixing the broken redistricting process. My op-ed 👇#fairmaps #S1 #HR1 #ForThePeople…
In short, you can’t “out organize” gerrymandering. In 2012 in PA, Democrats got 51% of the congressional vote but won just 5 of 18 seats. The map was so gerrymandered that even if Ds won 56% of the vote, they would have won only 6 of 18 seats. #fairmaps 2/
Contrast that to the pre-2011 map. Then Democrats won 11 of 19 seats with 56% of the statewide vote. (Or put another way, 58% of seats for 56% of the vote compared with 33% of seats for the same 56% of the vote under the gerrymandered 2011 map). #fairmaps 3/
Read 12 tweets
16 Jul
This piece is just plain wrong. Yes, it is too late for Congress to mandate independent redistricting commissions for this round of mapdrawing. But there is still *lots* that Congress can & urgently needs to do. #fairmaps 1/…
I talk here👇about how the redistricting reforms in the For the People Act aren’t just one reform but a power package of reforms that will work in tandem to fix a badly broken process. #fairmaps 2/…
At the top of the list is a statutory ban on partisan gerrymandering. The gerrymandering ban in the For the People Act is strong, targeting both intent *and* effect - and it can and should be further fine-tuned and strengthened yet in various ways. #fairmaps 3/
Read 8 tweets
14 Jul
There are lots of arguments for the benefits of diversity, but few more powerful the initial US response to the pandemic. Neither China cancelling the Lunar New Year nor having to completely shut down the world’s second largest economy in face losing fashion really broke through.
And I’m not just talking about the federal government but in the general discourse - in local governments and within organizations and among everyday people. The import of his bad this was just didn’t resonate.
Cancelling the Lunar New Year is the equivalent of cancelling Christmas, Thanksgiving, and western New Year. It’s huge. The Lunar New Year is the one time a year that many factory workers from inland provinces get to go home. That it happened was epically big.
Read 5 tweets
9 Jul
It’s hard to describe how clueless *and* depressing this situation is. To quote the great Eminem, “If you one shot, or one opportunity . . . Would you capture it or just let it slip?” For some in power, it seems to be the latter.
We stand at an inflection point about whether we can be a multiracial democracy or not. Few people in history have been given as stark a choice. And that people can’t see it is 🤦🏻‍♂️😑
I mean just consider gerrymandering which could determine control of the House for a decade. Hard to “organize” out of that. Yes, Democrats won back the House in 2018 after losing it in 2012 - but they benefitted from a couple of factors that won’t likely be present this decade.
Read 8 tweets

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