GERRYMANDERING: OUR DEMOCRACY AT RISK
ClassACT HR73 is pleased to present its primer on gerrymandering: Gerrymandering: Our Democracy at Risk.” Written by James P. Harbison and J. Ryan O’Connell with editing by Sallie Gouverneur, the primer is a product of ClassACT HR73’s Justice & Civic Engagement Initiative. Through this initiative, ClassACT has already hosted forums addressing issues such as voter suppression, racism and social justice, and racism in the criminal justice system.
Gerrymandering is one of the gravest, most insidious threats to our democracy, and the potential for abuse is soaring. When politicians draw voting maps to favor their party’s candidates over their opponents, that undermines the power of elections in our system of government…and citizens’ faith in our republic. A legislature should be a mirror image of its voters, so lawmakers reflect their constituents’ views, but gerrymandering prevents that.
Gerrymandering makes campaigns less competitive. With safe seats, incumbents can cater to their party’s members and ignore voters from the other party. Lawmakers are less inclined to compromise, which can lead to gridlock.
This year, as a result of the 2020 census, officials in all 50 states will draw up the voting maps that will govern elections for the next 10 years. With cheap, powerful computer programs, it’s easy for politicians to slice and dice voting districts to their hearts’ content…unless concerned citizens like you get involved and stop them.
“Gerrymandering: Our Democracy at Risk” will show you how to stop lawmakers from gaming the map-drawing process. We’ve written this primer for all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, who want elections to be fair and their votes to count. Politicians from both major parties have succumbed to the temptations of gerrymandering.
The primer explains:
We urge you to share this primer with your friends, communities and educational institutions. If you have questions about the primer or how to share it with others, please contact Ryan O’Connell.
SUMMARY OF THE GERRYMANDERING PRIMER
Moderator Ryan O’Connell HR'73, one of the authors of a new ClassACT primer Gerrymandering: Our Democracy at Risk, lead a panel of experts on reforming redistricting. The panelists included Alicia Bannon, Managing Director, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University; Brian Cannon, Director of Campaigns at the Institute for Political Innovation and former Executive Director of OneVirginia2021; Jim Harbison HR'73, PhD ’77, former physicist and computer scientist at Bell Labs and IBM, now focused on the mechanics and mathematics underlying gerrymandering; and Michael Li, Senior Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice. This Forum was developed by our gerrymandering subcommittee, led by Bahman Mossavar Rahmani '73, co-chair of ClassACT's Justice & Civic Engagement Initiative.