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Expand chart
Data: RepresentUs; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than half of the states in the U.S. are at "extreme risk" of congressional districts being drawn to unfairly favor one party, according to a new analysis of state redistricting processes by RepresentUs, a non-partisan advocacy group focused on election reform.

Why it matters: The states at risk of gerrymandering — a process the group says can produce "rigged maps" include battlegrounds like Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

The big picture: This year's redistricting process is already more chaotic than usual. And the outcomes could boost one party's political candidates for a decade.

  • "It's really just open season in a way that it never has been," RepresentUs CEO Josh Silver told Axios.
  • That's due in large part to Supreme Court rulings since the last census that block partisan gerrymandering lawsuits from federal courts and ended requirements for some states to get their maps pre-cleared by the Justice Department.

What to watch: The U.S. is in a period of rapid demographic change, moving toward becoming a majority-minority population.

  • "At the end of a 10-year [redistricting] cycle, the state can look very different than it did before," the lead researcher on the project, Jack Noland, told Axios. "That is all the more reason that we need fairer lines from the beginning, to sort of withstand those changes."

How it works: RepresentUs researchers looked at five key questions when determining each state's gerrymandering risk.

  • Are elected officials or nonpartisan commissions are in charge of drawing maps?
  • Can map-drawing can be done in secret?
  • Does one party control the process?
  • What are state criteria around how districts must be drawn?
  • How hard it is to challenge gerrymandered maps in court?

"I think we have a good sense of where there is a prior history of gerrymandering in this country," Noland said. "But what we hadn't seen is an analysis of the laws on the books in these places."

By the numbers: 11 states saw high risk of gerrymandering across all five categories.

  • Just seven states received a "minimal risk" rating: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, Arizona, Washington and Idaho.
  • Democrat-run and Republican-run states alike fell into the highest-risk and lower-risk categories.

What they're saying: The report highlights the need for changes to the redistricting process in many states and advocates for a sweeping election overhaul bill Democrats passed in the House last month.

  • Republicans have sharply criticized the bill, but Silver said given what’s at stake, it shouldn't be a partisan issue.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Cyberattack forces shutdown of major U.S. fuel pipeline

A police officer stands guard inside the gate to the Colonial Pipeline Co. Pelham junction and tank farm in Pelham, Alabama, in 2016. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A major U.S. fuel pipeline running from Texas to New York has been taken offline by its operator because of an apparent cyberattack.

The big picture: Colonial Pipeline "carries 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supplies," the N.Y. Times reports.

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Long quarantines were a necessary tool to slow the COVID-19 pandemic during its first phases, but better and faster tests — plus vaccines — mean they can be scaled back considerably.

Why it matters: Quick tests and regular surveillance methods that identify who is actually infectious can take the place of the two-week or longer isolation periods that have been common for travelers and people who might have been exposed to the virus, speeding the safe reopening of schools and workplaces.

Amazon rollups are the hottest deals

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A new generation of companies is forming to scoop up Amazon marketplace sellers — and venture capital firms are writing big checks to support the effort.

Why it matters: These e-commerce aggregators are all about data and using it to optimize and turbocharge sales, which means they’re using Amazon’s own playbook.