Independent Redistricting

Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around. Redistricting reform, including independent redistricting commissions, eliminates partisan gerrymandering and gives voters a stronger voice by taking party politics and special interests out of the map-drawing process.

A hand holding a pen in the writing position
State of Iowa with red blocked areas
Blue areas of state blocked
Black lines drawn through the blocked areas of the state
The Problem

Both parties weaponize partisan gerrymandering to preserve their own power and squelch representation.

When political parties draw their own state and congressional districts each decade, they can effectively choose their own voters. This allows the party in power to manipulate elections, all but guaranteeing the ultimate partisan outcome of an election before a single ballot has been cast. This problem has only gotten worse with more sophisticated data.

How to gerrymander

Start with some dots

Before congressional districts are drawn, lawmakers use population and voter registration data, along with demographic maps, to paint a clear picture of who lives where — and what party they’re affiliated with.

In this graphic, dots represent populations of equal size, regardless of their size. The size of each dot represents the extent to which that population’s voters favor one party over the other. For instance, a very large blue dot could represent a population that votes 85%-15% for the Democratic Party.

Drawing Districts

Once data is compiled illustrating the political makeup of a region, districts must then be drawn. It’s up to the legislators whether to create fair districts or draw them for their own competitive advantage.

This geographic area will be drawn into three different districts. Let’s explore how different drawings favor one bloc of dots over another.

Pack a district

To draw this region in a way that would favor red legislators, districts could be drawn around the majority of blue dots, packing all of the blue voters into one large and obscurely shaped district. This then dilutes the blue power in the other two districts, guaranteeing two red wins for the region. These districts aren’t competitive and guarantee one blue victory and two red wins.

Split a district

To draw this region in a way that would favor red legislators, blue voters are split between three larger red districts. By splitting blue voters, their influence as a voting bloc is diminished, and the red gets three guaranteed victories.

impact of the problem

Number of states (both red and blue) that have laws that put them at extreme or high risk of rigged maps.


Since 1997, 42% of the decline in competitive districts is attributable to partisan gerrymandering.

Cook Political Report

Number of eligible voters who live in districts that are safe for the political party they oppose.


Independent redistricting commissions remove self-interested politicians from the process and put citizens and independent commissioners in charge.

How it works

Putting Voters First

Independent redistricting commissions replace state legislatures as the body responsible for redrawing district lines based on population changes each decade. While they vary state to state, in general their members are chosen in a way to diminish undue influence from any one party or branch of government, and they are legally bound to draw districts based on a defined set of criteria.


Merits of Independent Redistricting Commissions


Establishes a transparent redistricting process that requires public input and support from Republicans, Democrats, and independents


Creates standards for how maps are drawn that eliminate partisan bias and foster competition and electoral accountability

Voter Empowerment

Gives citizens more voice and keeps politicians, lobbyists, and associates from hijacking the mapmaking system


Creates representative districts that force politicians to work for all of their constituents if they want to be reelected

The Status of Congressional Redistricting

In 26 states, politicians are in total control of drawing maps. In 18 states, some kind of redistricting commission draws the maps. Find out who draws the maps in your state.

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