The 2018 election was a body blow to partisan gerrymandering. Four states enacted redistricting reform that will diminish the role of politics in drawing district lines; more elected Democratic governors who can veto partisan maps. Another state, North Carolina, replaced a Republican state Supreme Court justice with a liberal who fought gerrymandering as a civil rights attorney. No matter what happens in 2020, it is all but guaranteed that the next decade’s maps will be significantly fairer than our current gerrymandered mess.
Start with the ballot measures. Voters in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah passed laws that restrict politicians’ ability to carve up districts along political lines. Colorado and Michigan amended their state constitutions and will now use an independent commission to draw boundaries for both congressional and state legislative districts. Missouri also passed a constitutional amendment to empower a state auditor to draw state legislative districts on the basis of partisan fairness, ensuring that the outcome of each election is roughly proportional to the popular vote. Utah enacted a statute that creates a bipartisan commission to draw district lines without consideration of political advantage. The Legislature can override this map, but it is legally obligated to replace it with a plan that does not favor a political party.