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U.S. Senate Democrats Introduce Sweeping National Redistricting Bill

February 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Earlier this month, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) introduced the Redistricting Reform Act of 2024, legislation that would make a slew of impactful changes to the congressional redistricting process nationwide.

The bill would set spell out comprehensive criteria for congressional redistricting including:

  • Banning partisan gerrymandering by prohibiting drawing maps that favor or disfavor any political party,

  • Ensuring compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965,

  • Providing an explicit right for private citizens to file legal challenges under this law,

  • Requiring that districts be drawn to represent communities of interest and neighborhoods to the extent possible,

  • Barring people, legislatures and states from asserting legislative privilege over lawsuits brought under the act,

  • Setting clear deadlines for when maps must be enacted and

  • Mandating that redistricting plans are subject to public comment in an open and transparent manner.

In a statement, Klobuchar heralded the legislation for protecting the principle of one-person, one-vote by “eliminating gerrymandering once and for all so every vote is counted equally.”

A specified private right of action under this bill is crucial. When no private right of action exists, lawsuits are only able to be filed by the U.S. attorney general. The protection has come under fire from Republicans, who have made a habit of attacking a private right of action under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as well as the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act.

The bill also clarifies the legal process by which voters, groups and other litigants can bring lawsuits challenging maps that do not comply with this act. Of note, the legislation would only apply to congressional redistricting and would not affect state legislative redistricting. The legislation would be effective immediately upon enactment.

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