Former President Obama says that "rethinking the way we draw our congressional districts" is vital to American democracy in a new video released by the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) on Wednesday.
In the video from the group, which is led by Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up On The Trail: Census kicks off a wild redistricting cycle MORE, Obama's former attorney general, the former president calls the surge in first-time candidates and the move to register more voters in 2018 "inspiring." But he says that modern technology has allowed a "party in power to precision-draw a map in a way that packs the other party's supporters into as few congressional districts as possible."
"It's why your district might be shaped like a corkscrew," Obama says. “But it’s also how a party gains more seats, while winning fewer votes. Which isn’t fair.”
He then goes on to assert that these antics have moved our political debates from the rational middle to the extreme, saying that's why he supported Holder in creating the NDRC.
"It's the first ever comprehensive strategy to make redistricting fairer," Obama says, adding that the organization will fight for reforms to make maps less partisan and to elect candidates that support fair redistricting. He also says it will bring legal challenges wherever congressional lines have been drawn to "diminish your voice and your vote."
Obama's message came as the NDRC focuses on a list of state legislature races for November, according to Politico. Politico says the group wants to identify specific targets in multiple priority states before of the 2020 census.
The group has told prospective donors that its goal is to put as many as 29 House seats in 12 states within reach for Democrats.
The NDRC reportedly aims the majority of its efforts on districts with large populations of college-educated voters and minorities. It will also include an emphasis on districts that will overlap with key House races.
“We have lifted up and done the analysis of competitiveness, and now we can work within that landscape of competitiveness,” Kelly Ward, the NDRC executive director, told Politico.
Accusations of gerrymandering and unfair voter maps have hit multiple states, ranging from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.
Judges for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in June that the state's districts were gerrymandered along racial lines.
But that same month, the Supreme Court ruled narrowly against a group of Democratic voters in Wisconsin who challenged the state's 2011 redistricting plan as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.