2020 state supreme court elections are key for stopping GOP gerrymandering in these five states
On Tuesday, Wisconsin voters appeared to have narrowly elected a strident conservative judge to replace a retiring progressive justice on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, although the Republican-backed candidate’s 6,000-vote lead is poised to go to a recount. This race, which would extend the GOP’s majority to a five-to-two advantage, should serve as a wake up call for Democrats at both the state and federal, because state supreme courts are a critical battleground for stopping Republican gerrymandering and voter suppression when other options are unavailable.
Fortunately, as we’ll detail below, the 2020 elections give Democrats a chance to gain key state court seats in five big states that have seen extreme Republican gerrymandering this past decade, and doing so could pave the way for fairer redistricting and an end to Republican-backed voter suppression laws next decade. Indeed, the last few years have shown just how much state courts matter when Democrats, after gaining a majority on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, struck down the GOP’s congressional gerrymander and replaced it with a much fairer map in 2018.
As shown on the map at the top of this post (see here for a larger version), Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin are the states where 2020 supreme court elections would either give Democrats a majority or set them up to gain one in a subsequent election that could still be used to curtail gerrymandering later next decade. Below, we’ll look at each state: