The incomplete data reveal, coupled with the controversial late completion of Census 2020, has raised many eyebrows against the Census Bureau of the United States.
As both parties seek advantages from redistricting, any party gaining it would be in a position to utilize it in the upcoming elections.
The Brennan Center, a law and policy institute, has published an extensive study on the redistricting battle in 2021, claiming that it is one of the challenging tasks for administration.
Although the issue of fair representation is a talk of the town even before the release of the census report, Republicans are expected to be the winner once everything is released.
This could help Republicans cement their agenda by controlling Congress and blocking Biden’s path.
The Winners and Losers of Redistricting: GOP in the Driver’s Seat
The delay of results has raised many complications for the election process.
Firstly, Virginia and New Jersey will hold their legislative elections as per the old map in November 2021.
Both parties are aiming to pursue the path of gerrymandering now.
According to the “Cook Political” study, half of the states have legal announcements that the redistricting has to be completed in 2021, which seems impossible at the time.
State governments have unparalleled control over the redistricting process, and Republicans controlling both the governorship and legislators of at least 22 states will pursue partisan gerrymandering in full swing.
On the other hand, Democrats have unilateral control over 15 states, while others are contested ones.
Republicans have absolute authority to redistrict 181 out of a total of 435 seats, while Democrats have the sole authority on only 49 of them.
This puts the GOP in the driver’s seat in redistricting, even though they failed to capture Congress and the White House.
According to thecensus data, southern and western states will increase their seats, whereas the midwestern and rust belt states are likely to lose one representative each.
According to Census 2020 data, many western states like Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona showed population increase over the last ten years.
States that lost population between 2019 and 2020 include Illinois, West Virginia, and New York.
Montana, North Carolina, Florida, Colorado, and Oregon will have an additional seat in the House, while Texas is the biggest winner with a likely gain of two seats in the Lower House of Congress.
On the contrary, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania would be at the disadvantaged end.
Similarly, California will also lose a seat due to a population nosedive.
Fair Redistricting: The Need of Every Election
According to the Constitution of the United States, the Census Bureau has to conduct a decennial population count across the country.
Article 1 Section 2 of the US constitution empowers the census report to determine how many seats each state is sanctioned in Congress for the period of ten years.
As the House seats in any state are given based on the population count, almost 760,000 individuals, in particular, make a district.
Hence, a district map with new boundaries is made for every area once in a decade, even if the district does not show fluctuation in population.
Under the “One person, One Vote” doctrine, the need to redistrict is important so that every vote counts equally.
This redistricting is not only important for election purposes but also for the allocation of resources, grants, and budgets equally in every corner of the country.
Over time, the issue of redistricting catches political attention, considering the impact it renders on the national elections.
With the decline in population, states can lose seats based on the census data report, and the opposite is true when states gain population.
Any addition in seats of red states is a win for Republicans, and this is the possible outcome of this time results.
Due to the sweeping victories of the GOP in the state elections, it is obvious that Republican-controlled states will pursue aggressive gerrymandering this time.
While racial gerrymandering is not allowed to curb voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering is an absolutely legal phenomenon, as per the Supreme Court verdict.
According to the analysis of the Brennan Center for Justice, as they compared the redistricting process of 2011 with 2021, the Republicans were in the position of manipulating 219 districts in 2011, while Democrats had the authority over 73 seats.
The good news for Democrats is that the number of seats redistricted by the independent commissions has increased now.
In 2011, the independent commissions had the authority to redraw district lines of 88 seats in the House, while this time, the number has created 122.
Republicans’ efforts of partisan gerrymandering can go to a whole new level this time, considering the path former President Donald Trump went after losing the elections.
So Democrats have a lot to worry about as the 2022 midterm election nears.