Larry Bradley’s Ezine #397 Why Is Gerrymandering Wrong?

Weekly Ezine Number 397

What Is Happening with Election Reform?
Why Is Gerrymandering Wrong?

What Is Happening with Election Reform?

In our last Ezine we were pleased to report progress in Election Reform. Maine’s approval of Ranked Choice Voting blazed a clear path for the other 49 states to follow.

As pleased as we were with the actions of Maine, we were equally displeased with recent Supreme Court decisions on Gerrymandering. The Court punted its decision on two gerrymandering cases. A third case from North Carolina is still under consideration. That case has evidence of blatant partisan intent. There is an actual in session statement by lawmakers that the reason something like 11 of 13 districts favor Republicans under the North Carolina plan is that they could not find a way to make 12 of 13 districts favor Republicans. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/us/politics/supreme-court-north-carolina-gerrymandering.html

As someone commented on the NY Times article I’m about to link to, “ . . . We cannot have a republic if the politicians choose their voters. We cannot have any sort of democracy if only the well-heeled have their voices heard. And we cannot have a constitution that actually preserves a right to vote, the privileges and immunities of all citizens, and equal protection of the law if the courts refuse to apply those provisions to such anti-democratic abominations as partisan gerrymandering and plutocratic domination of our elections.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/18/us/politics/supreme-court-wisconsin-maryland-gerrymander-vote.html?emc=edit_th_180619&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=329125780619

Also of note is a lawsuit brought in the state of Michigan by the Michigan League of Women Voters. A recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court is allowing the case to proceed. http://michiganradio.org/post/judges-say-michigan-gerrymandering-lawsuit-can-proceed-challenges-individual-districts

We were contacted by The Center for School, College and Career Resources. https://www.csccr.org/ Their students are asking them lots of questions about voting. In response, they developed two on line resources which we want to share here. We recommend you forward them to young people you know.

The first one––called College Voter Prep Guide––takes first-time voters through how to register, the rules, and what to expect at the polls. I love that it highlights how their vote matters, and encourages them to use it: https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/student-voting-guide/
The second provides a step-by-step breakdown to help new voters navigate the election process, and includes information about different political parties, different types of elections, and also has a helpful expert FAQs section:
Navigating the Election Process for Students & First Time Voters: A Beginners Guide to Election Rights, Rules and Regulations
https://www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/students-and-first-time-voters/
Why Is Gerrymandering Wrong?

What’s wrong with the practice of Gerrymandering? Gerrymandering is cheating, plain and simple. It’s rigging the rules of the election game to ensure you win, no matter what.

It’s playing a football game with a referee who is not impartial and will not call a certain rules violation (like holding, for example) if your side has the ball. But holding is called often on the other team when they have the ball.

It reminds us that one of the key words we called attention to in our book was “consistency”. Consistency means the referees enforce the same rules the same way for both teams and their players. Consistency is what we’re looking for as voters. What we want to get rid of is the only thing being consistent politically is inconsistency.

For example, what’s this about a certain elected official arguing that no vote should be held on a Supreme Court nominee because it’s an election year and then two years later having the same elected official argue for having the vote for another nominee before the election?

Let’s use another organized team sports metaphor. (Sorry if you don’t like sports, but here’s why I do it. First, it provides a common grounding people understand. Second, I am therefore providing you with a non-partisan, common denominator explanation you can use with others and have them better understand what you’re talking about.)

When the end of a season comes for a sport at any level and a Champion is named, we expect that Champion to have earned the title. That team earned the title by competing with the best their opponents had to offer and emerging victorious. A team who earned their title by keeping other teams’ best players off the field through dubious means, by bribing the referees or other under-handed schemes does not deserve the title of Champion.

Elections are contests about ideas for policy and governing. If political candidates and parties’ ideas are not favored by the majority of voters without restricting who votes (or our electoral process does not allow a majority winner to be determined), then their ideas are weak. Those ideas are not the ones that should be driving our policies.

We contend that we as Americans should demand the same level playing field for our elections as we do for our sports. We’re not getting that level playing field. That’s why we advocate the forms of Election Reform we do.

See you next time.

Regards,

Larry

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One comment on “Larry Bradley’s Ezine #397 Why Is Gerrymandering Wrong?
  1. George J Lippert says:

    Larry — Thanks for the comprehensive update on the Sup Court decision. We were out of the country when the decision was released. I had strong hopes that the SCOTUS would act rather than punt. Negating gerrymandering is urgently needed. George

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