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Every 10 years, political districts at all levels of government are redrawn to make sure they are equal in population as required by the U.S. Constitution.1 Currently every state apportions representatives and draws congressional and state legislative districts on the basis of a state's total population.2 That is, when districts are drawn, all people living in the state, including children and noncitizens, are counted for the purposes of representation.However, some Republican political operatives and elected officials aim to unsettle this long-standing practice by excluding children and noncitizens from the population figures used to draw state legislative districts.3 Rather than count everyone, states would draw districts based only on the adult citizen population.Making such a break with current practice and precedent would be of dubious legality and would leave states vulnerable to a host of legal challenges. It also would have major practical implications for redistricting. This study looks at what such a change would mean for representation and the allocation of political power in the United States by focusing on its impact three demographically distinct states: Texas, Georgia, and Missouri.
This report looks at the upcoming redistricting cycle through the lens of four factors that will influence outcomes in each state: who controls map drawing; changes in the legal rules governing redistricting over the last decade; pressures from population and demographic shifts over the same period; and the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the 2020 Census. In each state, the confluence of these factors will determine the risk of manipulated maps or whether, conversely, the redistricting process will produce maps that reflect what voters want, respond to shifts in public opinion, and protect the rights of communities of color.
President Trump recently claimed millions voted illegally in the 2016 election, and called for a "major investigation" into fraud in our election system. His remarks come after years of battles in the states over voting laws that make it harder for many citizens to participate in our elections. Yet the clamor over voter suppression should not obscure a fundamental shared truth: American elections should be secure and free of misconduct. This paper outlines a six-part agenda to target fraud risks as they actually exist -- without unduly disenfranchising eligible citizens.