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This next cycle of redistricting looks very similar to the last decade, in which most maps were subject to partisan gerrymandering.

Reform, interrupted: The new mapmakers mainly face the old  partisan rules

Next year's redistricting landscape is, at best, a mixed bag for good-governance advocates. Although the mapmaking process has become fairer and less politicized in a handful of states over the past decade, partisan gerrymandering will still have a profound impact on representation across most of the country.

Democrats had high hopes of taking back enough power in state legislatures to have close to parity in the line drawing with Republicans, but they were totally shut down on Election Day. At the same time, while Virginians voted to bleed politics out of the process, Missourians voted to push their state the opposite way. And proposals to reform the system in six states died because they could not get on the ballot, yet another consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.

The result is a power dynamic for the next drawing of congressional and legislative boundaries that's only marginally different than a decade ago. The two parties will retain control over the process in 39 states, just three fewer than last time. And the GOP will run the table in twice as many states again, with only a hair less dominance over the Democrats than in 2011.

It is a far cry from a central aspiration of the democracy reform movement, which has a mantra about what it will take to fix the system: Voters must be able to pick their politicians instead of the other way around. And that can't happen if elected officials have the power to use contorted cartography to ensconce themselves in power for 10 years at a time.

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Voters in Massachusetts, including those who cast early ballots at Fenway Park, came out against ranked-choice voting in the Bay State.

Ranked elections rejected by Massachusetts, in doubt in Alaska

Proponents of ranked-choice voting have failed in their attempts to bring the alternative election system to Massachusetts and are confronting a potential defeat in Alaska as well.

The twin setbacks would amount to a big reversal of fortune for one of the darling ideas of democracy reform: Allowing voters to list candidates in order of preference, then reallocating the secondary choices of the poorer performers until one person emerges with majority support. Maine is now the only state using ranked elections almost exclusively

But a switch to so-called RCV for municipal elections was approved in two cities in California, two in Minnesota and one in Colorado. And voters in St. Louis voted to embrace another alternative election format for local primaries called approval voting.

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True

It's a close call, Colorado, but please stick with the national popular vote

LaRue is a former deputy director of the Eisenhower Institute, a nonpartisan think tank at Gettysburg College, and of the American Society of International Law.
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