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Five things to read today about redistricting

Now that the Census Bureau has finally announced which states have gained or lost congressional seats, attention turns to the legislative bodies and commissions that will be drawing new maps for the next round of elections.

We already know the delayed data release is having an impact on states' abilities to meet their own deadlines for drawing new maps. It's only going to get more complicated as lawsuits are filed and more data becomes available.

Here are five stories you should read (or watch) to get up to speed (besides The Fulcrum's own reporting, of course).

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Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Republican campaigns to restrict ballot access are connected to looming partisan gerrymandering efforts.

The first redistricting lawsuits are here

Hours after new redistricting data was released by the Census Bureau, lawsuits were filed Monday night to toss out expired election maps in three states.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who heads the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, and prominent Democratic voting rights lawyer Marc Elias filed the suits in federal and state courts on behalf of voters in Louisiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. They argue that population changes over the last decade have rendered the current maps unconstitutional.

Because these states have divided governments, it's likely that partisan disputes will prevent them from agreeing on new election maps in time for the 2022 midterms. The litigation was filed in anticipation of an impasse and with the hopes of expediting court-drawn maps.

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How census delays could impact redistricting timelines

At this time in a normal redistricting year, states would already be drawing the lines for the next decade's election maps. But delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have upended many states' timelines.

The Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal public policy institute at New York University Law School, released a 27-page report Thursday providing a state-by-state assessment of how these delays could impact the redistricting process.

While the delays were necessary, the report notes that as of mid-April many states had yet to update their redistricting deadlines to account for a more compressed timeline. If adjustments aren't made, courts may need to step in and create temporary maps for upcoming elections.

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