Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
General News

Anti-Gerrymandering Reform's Stunning Success at Midterms

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Joan Brunwasser       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   6 comments, 3 series

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Valuable 2   Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 11/18/18

Become a Fan
  (85 fans)
- Advertisement -

Shawn M. Griffiths
(Image by courtesy of Shawn M. Griffiths)
  Permission   Details   DMCA

My guest today is Shawn M. Griffiths, Election Reform Editor for Independent Voter Network, or IVN.us. Welcome to OpEdNews, Shawn.

Joan Brunwasser: While I'm confident that many of our readers are in favor of election reform, I'm willing to bet that most them are not familiar with IVN. Let's take the opportunity to change that. What can you tell us about your organization?

Shawn Griffiths: IVN has published content educating voters on across-the-board political and election reform for a decade now. It is a nonpartisan, open platform for independent-minded voters, founded not on an ideology, but an etiquette: No personal attacks, no partisan attacks, substantiate claims, and no self-promotion. We encourage people to elevate the state of discourse online in a substantive, nuanced, and a civil way. We provide readers with valuable and extensive information on the growing nonpartisan reform movement that is making historic gains and continues to grow. As it has grown, so have we.

- Advertisement -


JB: It sounds wonderful, especially these days. What is gerrymandering and why is everyone so hot and bothered about it?

SG: Gerrymandering, specifically partisan gerrymandering, occurs when legislators redraw legislative and congressional districts after every decennial census. However, the political majority leverages their authority to redraw the maps so they can protect their party's majority and power. One way this is done is by packing voters not registered with the party in power into a few districts, while ensuring they can get as many of their own voters in a majority of districts. This often leads to oddly shaped districts like the infamous "Goofy Kicking Donald" congressional district that existed in Pennsylvania before courts forced the state to redraw its maps. It really looked like a poor sketch of Goofy kicking Donald Duck, and in one place was held together by a single seafood shack.

The reason why millions of Americans are upset about this is because it marginalizes voters outside the dominant political party and leaves many unrepresented. It may even divide communities where people share mutual interests and needs. In Michigan, where nonpartisan redistricting reform passed on Election Day, for instance, one street in Grand Rapids is divided by three legislative districts, meaning one neighbor has a different state representative than another. In Wisconsin, the GOP gets about half the statewide vote but ends up with about two-thirds of the state legislative seats. The same disproportionate representation can be found in Democratic-controlled states like Maryland as well.

- Advertisement -

Nonpartisan reformers want to fix this so that voters are properly and adequately represented.

JB: Gerrymandering has had an outsize effect, assuring that the political playing field is not level. But voters are fighting back. Tell us what happened across the country on November 6th.

There were nonpartisan redistricting reforms on the ballot in four states: Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah. These reforms varied in nature, but the goal was the same: Voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around.

Some of these proposals simply establish independent redistricting commissions of various sizes to draw and approve new maps -- taking the process out of the hands of state lawmakers. The most unique, though, is probably Missouri's, which creates a new state position for a nonpartisan demographer to draw new maps and then a citizens' commission will review the maps.

The campaigns behind these efforts had to collect hundreds of thousands of signatures to get on the ballot. The proposals in Michigan and Missouri had to survive legal challenges from special interests. The road was never easy, and intentionally so by the established power structure in some of these states.

On election night, though, the voters sent a clear message to their state politicians: We want change. The proposals in Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri passed overwhelmingly, garnering between 61-71% of the vote -- landslide victories. There was no mistake what the people, regardless of their political affiliation, wanted.

- Advertisement -

The proposal in Utah, which establishes a seven-person independent redistricting commission, is still in a tight race. By the end of election night, the proposal was leading with a margin of 2,250 votes. The proposal creates a commission comprised of people appointed by the governor and state legislative leadership. The important thing to note is that people who have held or run for office in the past four years, or been in the leadership of a political party, or a registered lobbyist, or been appointed or worked for a government body cannot be appointed to the commission.

One of the most remarkable stories, though, is how the Voters Not Politicians campaign came to be in Michigan. It started as a single Facebook post from its founder, Katie Fahey, disappointed with the current state of politics after the 2016 election, and it blossomed into a movement. The campaign listened to what citizens said they wanted from anti-gerrymandering reform and from the feedback and consultation with experts they drafted an amendment to create a 13-member citizens' redistricting commission, comprised of four Republicans, four Democrats, and five independents. It is the only proposal that gives independents more seats at the table. It passed with 61% of the vote.

It was truly a remarkable night for the anti-gerrymandering reform movement, and testament to the strength grassroots movements can have in American politics when people are united behind a common goal.


(Image by IVN.us website)   Permission   Details   DMCA

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 3   Valuable 2   Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

Joan Brunwasser Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Interview with Dr. Margaret Flowers, Arrested Tuesday at Senate Roundtable on Health Care

Renowned Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck on "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success"

Howard Zinn on "The People Speak," the Supreme Court and Haiti

Fed Up With Corporate Tax Dodgers? Check Out PayUpNow.org!

Snopes confirms danger of Straight Ticket Voting (STV)

Literary Agent Shares Trade Secrets With New Writers

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

5 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments


John Zwiebel

Become a Fan
Author 509185

(Member since Jun 19, 2017), 2 fans, 193 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Great, how does this help those states were gerrymandering and voter suppression actually work, like Georgia and Florida?


BTW, Approval Voting passed in Fargo ND. IMHO this will have greater impact that an impartial redistricting committee.


https://reformfargo.org/ballot-initiative

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2018 at 6:02:29 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (1+)
Help
 
Indent

Shawn Griffiths

Become a Fan
Author 512443

(Member since Nov 18, 2018), 1 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to John Zwiebel:   New Content

Unfortunately, when redistricting reform is passed in one state, it doesn't directly impact another state. It is a state by state thing.


For Georgia, it is extra difficult to get reform passed, because the state does not allow citizens to put ballot measures on the ballot. All measures need to be referred to the legislature. If the dominant party in power is fine with the status quo, it will be difficult to see change accomplished.


Florida does allow citizens to run ballot initiative campaigns to get reforms on the ballot. Though I believe Florida has a law that technically makes partisan gerrymandering illegal. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Just something worth noting.


So the courts are also an avenue, as they would be in Georgia.


Per your comment on Approval Voting, I covered its passage for IVN as I try to keep my finger on the pulse of all upcoming reforms. It will be exciting to see its use for the first time in any election in the US.

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2018 at 10:33:55 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 
IndentIndent

John Zwiebel

Become a Fan
Author 509185

(Member since Jun 19, 2017), 2 fans, 193 comments
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Shawn Griffiths:   New Content

I guess my initial comment was motivated more by a "so what does this buy us" than anything else. CO and MO are pretty Purple now anyway (although apparently going in opposite directions. MI is controlled by a Koch Brothers hack.


It is a personal conflict between being hopeful while at the same time knowing any defense is useless. Let's just say that Global Warming is happening because there are too many people in the world. It isn't really non-sequitur if you think about it.

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2018 at 10:55:06 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

Nelson Wight

Become a Fan
Author 47883

(Member since Apr 23, 2010), 17 fans, 2626 comments
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

GREAT XMAS PRESENT, JOAN, CHEERS

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2018 at 7:36:57 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 
Indent

Joan Brunwasser

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Dec 18, 2005), 85 fans, 941 articles, 4803 quicklinks, 1725 comments, 4 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


Reply to Nelson Wight:   New Content

My pleasure, Nelson.

Enjoy.


I try to cover the good when it pops up as well as the disturbing.

Thanks for writing.

Submitted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2018 at 9:40:53 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

Meryl Ann Butler

Become a Fan Follow Me on Twitter
(Member since Jun 5, 2006), 86 fans, 549 articles, 1758 quicklinks, 5499 comments, 7 diaries
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in


Add this Page to Facebook! Submit to Twitter Share on LinkedIn Submit to Reddit


  New Content

Great interview! We are working hard on redistricting here in VA too...making headway....

Submitted on Monday, Nov 19, 2018 at 5:51:58 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment