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Congressman Nickel Introduces FAIR MAPS Act to Combat Partisan Gerrymandering

Bill could add 37 to 42 more competitive House seats according to Duke University researchers

Today, Congressman Wiley Nickel (NC-13) introduced the Fair and Impartial Redistricting for Meaningful and Accountable Political Systems (FAIR MAPS) Act. The FAIR MAPS Act would combat partisan gerrymandering by establishing independent, non-partisan redistricting commissions in every state.

The Duke University Quantifying Gerrymandering team’s research found that if national legislation ended the practice of gerrymandering, there could be 37 to 42 more competitive House seats. That would double the number of competitive House seats available today.

Congressman Nickel announced the introduction of the FAIR MAPS Act during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol and was joined by representatives from Campaign Legal Center, Communications Workers of America Union (CWA), Common Cause, Democracy Green, and End Citizens United.

In North Carolina and across the country, partisan gerrymandering has been used as a tool by politicians to manipulate electoral outcomes with almost surgical precision. This leads to hyperpartisanship, squashes trust in government, and disenfranchises voters.

The FAIR MAPS Act is cosponsored by voting rights champion Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-18) and has been endorsed by Campaign Legal Center, Communications Workers of America Union (CWA), Common Cause, Democracy Green, Down Home North Carolina, End Citizens United, Equality North Carolina, League of Women Voters of the United States, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT), North Carolina Justice Center, and NC Counts.

“Unfortunately, in North Carolina and across the country, partisan gerrymandering has been used as a tool by politicians of both parties to manipulate electoral outcomes with almost surgical precision,” said Congressman Wiley Nickel. “This story isn’t unique to North Carolina, and the problem isn’t just with the current state legislature. History has made one thing clear: Politicians can’t be trusted to fairly draw electoral maps. I’m proud to introduce the FAIR MAPS Act to take politicians out of the process completely. By doing so, we can restore fairness and ensure that voters are the ones choosing their 

politicians, and not the other way around.”

“In America today, politicians too often choose their voters instead of voters choosing their elected officials. That's troubling and anti-democratic,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-18). “When Democrats were in the House majority, we passed measures to remove politics from the redistricting process as part of our comprehensive pro-democracy package. Unfortunately, the Senate failed to move our legislation that unrigs the drawing of congressional district lines. The FAIR MAPS Act importantly establishes national standards for redistricting and creates independent redistricting commissions. It's a commonsense proposal that voters deserve. Congress must expand voters' rights and create fairer maps.”

“In our democracy, Americans are supposed to choose their elected officials—not the other way around. But for too long, Republicans have openly exploited the redistricting process by drawing maps that blatantly allow them to hand-pick their voters,” said Tiffany Muller, President of End Citizens United // Let America Vote Action Fund. “By implementing an independent commission to draw equitable maps, the FAIR Maps Act will guarantee congressional districts truly represent the people. We applaud Congressman Nickel and Congresswoman Lofgren for their continued leadership to make sure our voting system is fair, transparent, and accountable to the people.”

“Every person in the United States deserves fair representation so they can effectively fight for the health and safety resources their communities need. However, in far too many states, power hungry politicians manipulate congressional maps to prevent voters from choosing their elected officials,” said Dan Vicuña, Director of Redistricting and Representation at the nonpartisan watchdog Common Cause. “We commend Congressman Nickel for introducing the FAIR MAPS Act to guarantee that all states have independent redistricting commissions so citizens – not politicians – can draw districts, and Common Cause urges Congress to quickly pass this commonsense legislation.”

“It's a basic principle of democracy: voters should pick their elected officials, not the other way around,” said Mark Gaber, Senior Director of Redistricting at Campaign Legal Center. “Independent redistricting commissions, which the FAIR MAPS Act promotes, are a common-sense solution to gerrymandering that puts power in the hands of the people – where it belongs. CLC strongly believes that, when districts are drawn fairly, all voters – Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike – have a fair shot to make their voices heard. For that reason, CLC is proud to endorse the FAIR MAPS Act.”

“In order to truly restore political power to America’s working families and establish a fair democratic system, we need legislation like the FAIR MAPs Act. This bill would ban partisan gerrymandering and instead establish clear, neutral standards that provide a fair process for voters to pick their elected officials, instead of allowing electeds to pick their voters. By establishing a more fair redistricting process, we can restore faith in our democracy and empower working people to cast their vote,” said Dan Mauer, Director of Government Affairs for the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

“Since 2018, Democracy Green has led a vocal effort fighting against unfair and often racist gerrymanders that have served to disenfranchise already marginalized communities, namely environmental justice and climate disaster-impacted communities,” said Sanja Whittington, Executive Director, Democracy Green. “We support the Fair Maps Act and the leadership of Rep. Wiley Nickel in leading the charge for an independent redistricting commission and leading an example from the top that will ensure all voters have equal access to the ballot box and the candidates of their choosing who will tackle their most critical environmental issues and the concerns of their communities.”

“Fair maps are critical to our democracy, and the League is proud to endorse the FAIR MAPS Act, which will ensure equity and transparency in the map-drawing process,” said Jessica Jones Capparell, Director of Government Affairs at the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Equal representation is a right for all, regardless of where you live, the color of your skin, or how you identify, which is why the League remains committed to ensuring that maps are drawn fairly and reflect the communities they serve, with all voices considered and equitably represented."

“Marginalized communities across the country have long been the targets of partisan gerrymandering, and Asian Americans are no exception,” said Chavi Koneru, Executive Director of North Carolina Asian Americans Together. “NCAAT strongly supports the FAIR MAPS Act because it is a critical step in eliminating gerrymandering in our state and ensuring that every single voice is heard.”

“The fight for equality and justice for the LGBTQ+ community, especially for our black and brown trans people, includes the fight against voter suppression in North Carolina,” said Eliazar Posada, Interim Executive Director of Equality NC. “Politicians in Raleigh have been gerrymandering our electoral maps and pushing harmful legislation that undermines our communities' right to vote. Independent redistricting reform would be a necessary step in the right direction towards ensuring our communities are protected.”

“Gerrymandering is a threat to women, people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, and our overall democracy. It’s a method that legislators use to push their own agendas instead of the will of the people they represent,” said Christian F. Nunes, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW). “Congressman Nickel’s FAIR MAPS Act will strengthen our democracy by implementing independent redistricting commissions in all 50 states, ensuring that our representatives are elected fairly to create a diverse legislature that will properly advocate for and serve its people.”

“In North Carolina, partisan gerrymandering can feel like a tale as old as time. Politicians carve up district maps to make sure that communities vote in a certain way,” said Vicente Cortez, Political Director of Down Home NC. “If fair lines are drawn, redistricting can ensure that communities of color have a fair shot at electing candidates who represent their worldview and will fight for what they need. We support Rep. Nickel’s FAIR MAPS Act to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and give power back to the people.”