Report: A State Court Strategy to Protect Voting Rights and Increase Fair Redistricting

Feb 13, 2018
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WASHINGTON – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week struck down the state’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court’s action is one example of how states across the country are seeking to protect voters’ voices in the political process.

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and FairVote today released a joint report outlining a state court strategy to strengthen our elections by protecting voting rights and moving towards fair redistricting. State supreme courts decide about 2,000 constitutional law cases every year, and these cases have far-reaching consequences. As outlined in the report – which examines ‘right to vote provisions’ in all 50 states – impact litigation has increasingly moved to state courts.

“Protecting access to the ballot and advancing fair redistricting  in the states is vital to building a representative and responsive government,” said Danielle Lang, senior legal counsel, voting rights and redistricting at CLC. “Our democracy faces challenges today that can be remedied by state courts, from entrenched gerrymandering that dilutes and distorts voters’ influence in elections to barriers to voting participation that disproportionally impact historically disenfranchised minorities.”

“Working to improve democracy through the political process has traditionally started at the local level,” said Drew Penrose, law and policy director at FairVote. “It makes sense to think locally when it comes to impact litigation too. I’m proud that we were able to compile these resources to help litigators get started.”

The report explores recent state court decisions that demonstrate the success of this strategy, and discusses the strategic considerations that are necessary for implementing such a strategy.

This report was made possible with the support of the Arnold Foundation.

Read the report.

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