Gerrymandering Scheme Poses Existential Threat to Democracy in Moore v. Harper

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Our vote is our voice. Yet for many communities, the freedom to vote has been achieved only through multi-generational organizing and advocacy. After the Supreme Court gutted key features of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, various states adopted congressional maps that created new barriers to fair representation. 

On December 7th, 2022, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments surrounding a fringe legal theory that would give state legislatures sole authority over federal election procedures and congressional gerrymandering, threatening the very foundations and pillars of our democracy. For people of all faiths and none, Moore v. Harper poses a critical threat to our freedom to vote.

One Voice, One Vote 

Our democracy works best when all voters can participate. But in Moore, the Court is  entertaining the novel “independent legislatures theory” which would allow state legislatures to approve gerrymandered voting maps with no oversight from their co-equal branches of government. If state legislatures are given this absolute power, the party in control would be able to draw districts for their own benefit.

Through practices like “packing” voters of a particular type into one district or “cracking” communities across multiple districts to dilute their power, gerrymandering undermines the fundamental principles of a representative democracy. Certain communities are particularly vulnerable to suppression efforts and, in some cases, are outright targeted, including communities of color, young voters, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Gerrymandering intends to skew election results by privileging some voices over others. The fear and uncertainty amid the COVID-19 health crisis and the post-2020 election instability created the perfect storm for those who would manipulate the election by shutting some voters out.

While Moore v. Harper narrowly deals with gerrymandering and drawing congressional maps, an extreme ruling could have much broader implications for how states run federal elections. Across faith and place, we share the belief that all people have inherent dignity and worth. The freedom to vote – to make our voices heard through the democratic process – is a sacred duty and not one that we take lightly. Measures that dilute or deprive our friends and neighbors of meaningful participation in our democracy are an affront to our common cause. In order for us to truly live up to our promise of religious freedom, we must ensure that every voter’s voice is equally heard. 

Photo: Interfaith Alliance staff in front of the Supreme Court during the Moore vs. Harper hearing.

Interfaith Alliance advances an inclusive vision of religious freedom, protecting people of all faiths and none, in service of a pluralistic democracy. Learn more about our work.