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Grantee Stories

The National Redistricting Foundation: Securing National Wins in Partnership with Local Leaders 

In 2021, the State of Alabama, with a population that is almost 27% Black, approved a new congressional map drawn by the state legislature that included only one majority-Black congressional district, out of a total of seven districts in the state. This map continued the state’s historic pattern of discriminatory voting policies and practices. Voting rights advocates sued the Alabama Secretary of State to void the gerrymandered map and uphold the protections of the Voting Rights Act and the democratic guarantee of fair and equal representation. In 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Allen v. Milligan, ruled in favor of Black voters, striking down the gerrymandered maps for violating the Voting Rights Act and requiring the state to redraw its congressional map. In October of 2023, a federal three-judge panel adopted a new map compliant with the Voting Rights Act, striking down the previous gerrymandered map, and for the first time, creating a map that has two Black-opportunity districts in which voters can elect a candidate of their choice. Among the critical organizations in this fight was The National Redistricting Foundation. 

The National Redistricting Foundation (NRF) fights against unfair district maps that tilt power to the advantage of incumbent parties and undermine the right to vote – a process well-known as ‘gerrymandering.’ Founded by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, NRF and its affiliates are a one-of-a-kind national redistricting hub that provides litigation support, leads public education, and engages in grassroots organizing to dismantle unfair electoral maps, create a redistricting system based on democratic values, and ensure fair and transparent democratic processes.  

[It was] a testament to the tenacity of the voters of Alabama, who knew their rights were violated… and took this fight as far as they could to not only ensure their rights, but the rights of Americans across the country.

Paramount to the success of NRF are its partnerships with local leaders and communities. Using grassroots organizing strategies in key states, NRF educates and engages local organizations and communities to play an active role in their redistricting process, putting community voice and leadership at the forefront of redistricting protection. This has been clear in its work in Alabama. As Attorney General Holder expressed, the success of the 2023 challenge was a “testament to the tenacity of the voters of Alabama, who knew their rights were violated… and took this fight as far as they could to not only ensure their rights, but the rights of Americans across the country.” 

In the same U.S. Supreme Court term as the Milligan case, NRF also supported the victory in Moore v. Harper, a challenge to North Carolina Republicans’ efforts to give state legislatures near-total control over federal election rules, including with respect to congressional districting. Thanks to NRF’s efforts, in partnership with other advocates, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of North Carolina voters, checks and balances, judicial oversight, and a functioning democracy more broadly. Beyond supporting these victories at the U.S. Supreme Court, NRF improved district maps nationwide through the 2022 redistricting cycle by supporting litigation that led to 11 new, fairer maps across five states. 

The National Redistricting Foundation is a critical partner to The Overbrook Foundation in our mission to defend democracy. Our democracy is based on the right of all Americans to choose their representatives fairly and freely, but a legacy of historic discrimination and voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other efforts to suppress the vote and rig the system leads to uncompetitive elections, partisan polarization, and the continued marginalization of communities of color. The Overbrook Foundation and our partners remain steadfast in support of the fight for fair democracy.