While most election attention has been focused on the U.S. House and Senate, Democrats are competing to capture governorships around the country, and also hope to flip a few state legislatures. With the 2020 Census approaching, many of the governors and state legislators elected tomorrow will have power in drawing the congressional boundaries that will be used starting in 2022.
Unless that power gets taken away from them. Three states — Colorado, Michigan and Utah — are voting on ballot measures to create independent commissions for redistricting, making it a nonpartisan process. These commissions are already in use in California and Arizona.
Partisan gerrymanders have also been increasingly challenged in courts. Pennsylvania’s districts, drawn by Republicans after the 2010 census, had to be tossed out after a state Supreme Court decision in January. The new map will be used for the first time this election, presenting Democrats with several pickup opportunities.
North Carolina’s Republican-drawn districts were also struck down in August, but the courts decided that there wasn’t enough time to redraw the boundaries before November. North Carolina narrowly voted for Trump and Romney in the 2016 and 2012 presidential elections, but 10 of the state’s 13 current representatives are Republican. Gerrymanders aren’t immune to waves, though — three of these GOP-held seats are rated toss-up or lean Republican by Cook Political Report.