The United States Supreme Court ruled today that “severe partisan gerrymandering” could continue, in a decision that “could fundamentally affect the balance of power in state legislatures and Congress.” In Iowa, a nonpartisan redistricting process has been in place since the 1980s, and was most recently used after the 2010 census. In recent years, longstanding bipartisan policies such as public sector collective bargaining and merit based judicial appointments have been gutted by Governor Reynolds and the Iowa legislature.
Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic issued the following statement calling for Governor Kim Reynolds and legislators in both parties to publicly state their support for nonpartisan redistricting in light of today’s ruling:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling should send a chill down the spine of every Iowan who values fair elections. Political districts have been drawn based on politics in other states, and there have been disastrous results. Thankfully, Iowa has a nonpartisan plan in place, last signed into law and supported by Republican Governor Terry Branstad, that allows for representative districts and fair elections. That plan should remain in place, and every elected official in Iowa should speak out in favor of it.”
“We cannot afford to let gerrymandering become the next chapter in Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators’ playbook against our rights. They tried to downplay the idea that they would make severe changes to public sector collective bargaining, which had been in place since the 1970s, and Iowa’s merit based system for selected judges, which was instituted in the 1960s. But despite those longstanding policies creating stability in our state, Reynolds and the Republicans gutted them both.”
“After today’s ruling, Governor Reynolds and every member of the Iowa legislature should publicly state their commitment to maintaining Iowa’s fair and nonpartisan process of drawing district maps, and reject the severe gerrymandering that has wreaked havoc in other states.”
“We can have some pride in the fact that Iowa has a system for reapportionment that is fair, that really gives the people an opportunity to choose their congressmen and their representatives and senators in a competitive system that isn’t really designed to skew it in favor of one party or the other,” Branstad said.