Capturing the Flag: FAQs and Resources

 

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For an overview of the issues - from the Policy Network Voting Rights and Democracy Group 

 

Key resources on Voting Rights 

For a full list of organizations and campaigns working on Voting Rights - go here 

What are 'districts'? What is gerrymandering? How is redistricting undertaken? 

David Daley has followed up his publication of this book with a new documentary: Slay the Dragon which will be released later this year

 

David Daley and  Sister District's cofounder & political director, Gaby Goldstein,  discuss gerrymandering, state politics, how Democrats got into such a state legislative hole, and how Democrats can harness the opportunities in 2018 to ride a blue wave into big wins. March 26, 2018 

 

The Economist found that “in the 2012 redistricting cycle, the boundaries of 48% of House districts were drawn entirely by Republican officials, compared with just 10% by Democratic ones.” 

  • Most of our federal legislators, all of our state legislators, and many of our local legislators in towns and counties are elected from districts. These districts divide states and the people who live there into geographical territories for representation and therefore voting.
  • In most states, the drawing up of districts is undertaken by state legislature, with governors often exercising vetos. Some states have independent commissions, while others have 'political' commissions; the decision of how to draw up districts is left to the state legislatures or in some cases ballot initiatives. This is why participating in elections for state legislators is so important!  
  • Redistricting is the way in which we adjust the districts that determine who will represents us. The next redistricting is due in 2021-2022 and will be based on the Census. That is why Census questions are at issue. 
  • Gerrymandering is essentially creating districts to achieve a partisan advantage. 

Updates on https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/05/15/americas-most-gerrymandered-congressional-districts/?utm_term=.2b0480086f8f

US federal legislation  and litigation through the Courts can set standards for fair representation and challenges to existing practices. See the Brennan Center for updates.  

Additional resources  to find out more about gerrymandering and redistricting. 

 

What are the major methods used to suppress voting? 
  • Gerrymandering 
  • Creating obstacles to voter registration
  • Purging voter rolls:
    • via the use of  Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck - now more limited in its use by states, but many have devised their own versions
    • 'caging':  a political party sends registered mail to addresses of registered voters. If the mail is returned as undeliverable, the mailing organization uses that fact to challenge the registration, arguing that because the voter could not be reached at the address, the registration is fraudulent. 
  • Voter ID laws
  • Restricted early voting
  • Felon disenfranchisement 
  • The 'gutting' of the Voting Rights Act 
  • Inadequate resourcing for the administration of elections: 
  • Insufficient or unequal allocation of the number/locations of polling stations and the number of voting machines
  • Disinformation about voting procedures and deadlines  

 

Stacey Abrams on Voter Suppression, Brookings Institute, February 15, 2019 

And then listen to the conversation  with Jelani Cobb about how to overcome voter suppression 

Who is impacted by voter suppression ?

From the Voting Rights and Democracy Group - Policy Network and Resolutions Committee 

 

 

What is being done to combat voter suppression, extend and protect voting rights and ensure our votes are counted? 

The number and range of organizations devoted to protecting voting rights has expanded since 2016, and the level of activism in 2018 was particularly high.

Their activities range from:

1) Litigation: challenges in the courts 

2) Research and investigations on the impact and operation of laws and regulations and the 'motivations' and support behind them  

2) Ballot initiatives on extending voting rights 

3) Activism on a range of issues:  e.g. providing support for people to gain the required Voter IDs