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General News    H1'ed 2/28/17

Gerrymandering's Insidious Power: Why Redistricting Matters

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Photo by Meryl Ann Butler
Photo by Meryl Ann Butler
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Gerrymandering has subtle but treacherous power: it allows the party in power to draw the lines of voting districts to serve their own interests, instead of the interests of constituents.

Examples of gerrymandered districts in Virginia
Examples of gerrymandered districts in Virginia
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In effect, the legislators choose their voters, instead of the voters choosing their legislators.

Contrary to one popular misconception about the practice, the point of gerrymandering isn't to draw yourself a collection of overwhelmingly safe seats. Rather, it's to give your opponents a small number of safe seats, while drawing yourself a larger number of seats that are not quite as safe, but that you can expect to win comfortably. -- WaPo

This is a simplified visual representation showing how Gerrymandering works:

A Visual Guide to Gerrymandering: Pigs vs Frogs
A Visual Guide to Gerrymandering: Pigs vs Frogs
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A Visual Guide to Gerrymandering: Pigs vs Frogs
A Visual Guide to Gerrymandering: Pigs vs Frogs
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Virginia, the "Mother of Presidents," has one of the worst records for gerrymandering in the country.

'high time we did something about it'
'high time we did something about it'
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But the nonprofit, OneVirginia2021, is taking a stand.

Brian Cannon is Executive Director of OneVirginia2021, an organization which advocates for fair redistricting in the Commonwealth of Virginia through local, regional, and statewide efforts. The organization works to "raise awareness, provide information, and work with legislators to implement meaningful reform."

Brian Cannon
Brian Cannon
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Two years ago OneVirginia2021 had 3,500 supporters. Today there are 44,000.

The documentary, GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy On Its Head, is partly responsible for the increase. It was produced by Community Idea Stations (Richmond PBS) in cooperation with OneVirginia2021.

Bill Oglesby, produced and directed the film. Oglesby is an assistant professor at The Robertson School of Media and Culture at Virginia Commonwealth University, and also owner of Bill Oglesby Media Consulting, a firm specializing in strategic media consultation.

Bill Oglesby
Bill Oglesby
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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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