By Ben Margiott, News 4 & Fox 11, October 19, 2023
Nevada’s new Congressional maps received an ‘F’ grade for creating a significant partisan advantage for Democrats, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project.
The group, which analyzes redistricting plans across the United States, found that the maps, enacted by state Democrats in 2021, created three reliably blue U.S. House districts.
New Nevada political maps get ‘F’ grade for significant Democratic advantage
All four of Nevada’s districts were outside of the ‘competitive zone,’ which is when a district’s partisan split is within 7 points.
“None of Nevada’s four districts are in that seven point (competitive) range, which means that it’s relatively straightforward to predict how each of the four districts will fall in a congressional election. And that is currently three Democrats, one Republican,” said Sam Wang, with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.
Nevada’s House delegation is currently made up of three Democrats and one Republican after all four incumbents were re-elected in 2022.
The maps were graded higher for competitiveness and geographic features, receiving a ‘C’ grade in both of those categories.
The ‘F’ grade for partisan fairness comes almost two years after Nevada – under a trifecta of Democratic leadership – approved the new maps in a five-day special legislative session following the 2020 Census.
Republicans challenged the maps in court and criticized Democrats for partisan gerrymandering and diluting the power of minority voters.
The maps, signed into law by then-Governor Steve Sisolak, passed on mostly party-lines in both houses, with only one Democratic lawmaker voting against the plan.
Wang said grades for the state legislative maps haven’t been released yet, but both the Assembly and Senate maps were also drawn with a strong Democratic advantage.
“When you draw those lines, it’s possible for politicians to pick their voters as opposed to what we think should be the case, which is voters picking their politicians,” Wang said.
Greg Lademann, the Nevada Senate Democrats Executive Director, said in a statement to News 4-Fox 11 that the notion the maps are unfair is ridiculous.
The notion that Nevada’s congressional maps are unfair is ridiculous. They are compact and go out of their way to keep local communities together. Both national parties consider three of our four U.S. House seats to be competitive, and the fourth seat is overwhelmingly Republican. Republicans frequently lose because they insist on nominating MAGA extremists, and that’s not something that any version of a map can fix.
Rural Nevadans filed a lawsuit challenging the maps in late 2021, but it failed to overturn the maps through the legal process, so they will be in effect for the rest of the decade.
There have been efforts to establish an independent redistricting commission in Nevada. Most recently, a proposed ballot measure to create such a board did not receive enough signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot.