Top Iowa Republicans won't rule out gerrymandering next political map

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and House Speaker Pat Grassley declined on January 7 to rule out any partisan amendment to Iowa’s next map of political boundaries.

During a forum organized by the Iowa Capitol Press Association, both GOP leaders promised to follow the law that has governed Iowa’s redistricting process since 1980. Under that law, the state House and Senate cannot amend the first map of Congressional and legislative boundaries produced by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, or the second map if the first is rejected.

However, the third map is subject to amendment, sparking fears among many Democrats that Republicans could vote down the first two proposals, then change the nonpartisan third map to a gerrymander. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls highlighted that “loophole” during the forum and asked the GOP leaders to commit to not amending a third map.

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U.S. census delay should not derail Iowa redistricting

The U.S. Census Bureau is unlikely to deliver state population totals on its usual timetable, Michael Wines and Emily Bazelon reported for the New York Times on November 19. The news was encouraging for those who support an accurate, complete census, because a delay beyond January 20 would stop the Trump administration’s unconstitutional plan “to remove unauthorized immigrants from the count for the first time in history, leaving an older and whiter population as the basis for divvying up [U.S.] House seats […].”

I wondered how an adjusted timetable could affect Iowa’s redistricting. Could Republicans who retained control of the Iowa House and Senate use a delay as a pretext for bypassing our state’s current nonpartisan process?

Not without changing state law.

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U.S. House votes to preserve Iowa redistricting system

The U.S. House of Representatives amended a broad election reform bill today to exempt the state of Iowa from new rules on redistricting. Democratic Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) offered the amendment, which House members adopted by voice vote. Her office said in a statement enclosed below that Finkenauer “worked tirelessly over several days to ensure the matter was addressed.”

Bleeding Heartland reported on March 4 that Iowa House Republicans were depicting H.R. 1 as an attempt by Congressional Democrats to “overturn nonpartisan redistricting in Iowa.” Finkenauer’s amendment stipulates that the bill’s section on independent redistricting commissions, which is designed to prevent gerrymandering elsewhere,

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