In lieu of a post today, I am indulging in some PR.
I will be participating in one of three upcoming, free Zoom presentations on gerrymandering, sponsored by the Indiana League of Women Voters. As longtime readers know, I have blogged repeatedly about the anti-democratic impacts of gerrymandering, and I’ve published a couple of articles about it in academic journals (you know, those journals that no one reads). This is your chance to hear from other voices, to see some illuminating films, and to benefit from the experiences of others.
Below is the information about the series, and a link at which to register. DO IT. (Please?)
Documentary Film Series with Panelists and Q&A on Voter Suppression, Gerrymandering, and the Need for Redistricting Reform
Thursday, Jan 28, 7:30-9:00 p.m. EST
Suppressed: The Fight to Vote by Robert Greenwald.
Produced by Brave New Films, this 35-minute documentary chronicles the 2018 midterm election in Georgia where people faced polling place closures, voter purges, missing absentee ballots and extreme wait times —disproportionately preventing students and people of color from voting.
Panelists: Sarah Ferraro (election official, Calumet LWV)
Olisa Humes (President of NAACP chapter, Columbus, IN)
Thursday, Feb 4, 7:30-9:00 p.m. EST
UnCivil War: U.S. Elections Under Siege Produced & directed by
Indiana native Tom Glynn
This 45-minute documentary exposes the web of threats facing our elections today. The film includes a segment on Indiana’s fight to reform redistricting, featuring interviews with Common Cause’s Julia Vaughn and Debbie Asberry of the Indiana League of Women Voters, co-founders of All IN for Democracy, Indiana’s Coalition for Redistricting Reform.
Panelists: Sheila Kennedy (Retired Professor of Law and Policy, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI)
Paul Helmke (former Ft. Wayne Mayor, now Director of the Civic Leaders Center at IU).
Peggy Welch (IN State Rep. gerrymandered out of her district in 2011)
Thursday, Feb 11, 7:30-9:00 p.m. EST
Line in the Street Created by film makers Robert and Rachel Millman, this award-winning film on gerrymander reform is about citizen activists and a landmark win for voting rights in the 2018 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case, League of Women Voters Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This first of its kind lawsuit held that partisan gerrymandering violated Pennsylvania’s State Constitution, irrespective of federal law, or federal courts.
Panelists: Jesse Kharbanda (Hoosier Environmental Council)
Jennifer McCormick (Former IN State Superintendent of Public Instruction)
REGISTER HERE FOR ONE, TWO OR THREE FILMS: You will receive a registration confirmation email containing information & a unique link to attend the programs.
If you have wondered how on earth people like Jim Jordan and Louis Gohmert manage to hang onto their seats in the House of Representatives, this series will explain that phenomenon.
If you live in a state like Indiana, where the lines have been carefully drawn to ensure dominance by rural voters over urban ones, this series will explain why Indiana’s laws are so retrograde and why our state is so firmly located in the “Red” column when election results are being tabulated.
And P.S.While this series is focused on gerrymandering, don’t forget the anti-democratic Electoral College. The Electoral College is the reason that, in a Senate that is split 50-50, the 50 Democratic Senators represent 41.5 million more people than the 50 Republicans represent.
12 thoughts on “Tune In To These Presentations!”
Good luck to you and the LWV with these presentations.
What was the quote from Wheeler yesterday, “If you are insulated from the consequences of your actions and make a great deal of money by exploiting that insulation, then what is the incentive to act responsibly?”
I just forwarded todays post to my state representative and asked him to share it widely within his government network. I HOPE that helps a bit. Thanks for all you do Prof K.
Having been actively involved with the issue of redistricting reform for several years now, I recognize the reality of the politics at the state level in Indiana as firmly entrenched resistance to even acknowledging that our state is gerrymandered. The leaders can posture as they call for change then appoint committee chairs that they know will never allow even a vote out of committee. It is all political theater.
Maybe if more people were educated and aware of the civics involved, things would change. As a voter is the heavily gerrymandered 5th Congressional District, I can testify to the frustration of having my vote neutered by a largely White suburban and rural majority. My urban concerns are often drowned out by those constituencies and it is by intent and design.
It needs to change so that there is competition and transparency in all districts. 7th graders have figured out how to do it. Hopefully, our legislators are as smart as a 7th grader.
As an FYI, all of these films can be viewed via YouTube
Listening to John Meacham this morning concerning the raft of new voter suppression attempts across the country for the 2022 election cycle is astounding!
They don’t even try to fake it anymore, as Meacham said, it’s a power grab, and it’s not based in ideology whatsoever.
So, this could be the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end!
I plan to attend 2 out of 3 – thank you for doing this!!! I read a thoughtful article by a constitutional expert some years ago where they felt that curtailing the practice of gerrymandering was a necessary but not sufficient way to achieve a more representative US House and federal government. To do that requires that the number of seats be increased, and dramatically. At the time of the nations birth, there were 65 House Representatives – one for each of 60,500 US citizens. The number of reps has been as high as 437 but has mostly been 435 since 1911, when each represented 212,400 citizens. Today 735,600 citizens share a US House Rep.
While it would be ridiculous to think that we could back to the representative ratio of Colonial times (that would require 5,290 reps!), it is not a stretch to imagine a House expanded to 3 or 4 times the current number of House Reps. Before you recoil in horror at the mere thought of that many more politicians in our midst, please hear out some arguments for doing so:
1) Even without changes to the law to constrain gerrymandering, expanding the number of reps would result in a more bipartisan House and especially in urban suburbs and exurbs. I can guarantee that if IN-3 was split into 4 House district no less than one of them would be filled by a Democrat and possibly two. At least a 2nd would be more competitive.
2) With so many more votes to cast, the power structure has far less control over twisting arms among the ranks and bills would be more likely to pass (or not) on their merits, not favors. This is because it simply not possible to have all the conversations necessary to maintain the current power structure. A House Rep would be far more accountable to their 200,000 constituents than the Party Machine.
3) Political campaigns would be smaller, more focused and harder to purchase by outside interests as there would simply be too many of them to make a difference. Not to say that sensible campaign finance reform still wouldn’t be necessary.
4) The organization of the House into committees would involve fewer committee assignments per House Member, resulting in more decentralization of power and greater opportunity for a House member to develop expertise in an area.
Then again, it could become a 5-alarm tire-dump fire. Who knows?
Too late, I’ve already recoiled in horror at the suggestion about expanding the House by 3 or 4 times. It’s already a pretty unwieldly body at 435 people. Can’t imagine how bad it would be with 1600.
I get your point about how members of House represents a lot more people today than they used to. I just don’t agree that negative justifies a dramatic expansion of the house which would make it ungovernable.
Not sure about some of your data. You talk about having 5,290 reps in colonial times. Well that was, by definition, before we had a national government and Congress. So those would have been representatives within the colonies…the equivalent of state legislators. We have over 7,000 of those today, so, yes, that is much less per capita. Our first national legislature, the Congress of the Confederation, was a unicameral body and, I believe, just had 50 members of Congress.
Perhaps someone like Andre Carson could be persuaded to introduce some model legislation at the federal election level. Among the items addressed could be registration requirements, voter purge requirements, early voting, absentee voting, number of polling sites based upon population for a county, number of machines per site, etc.
Gerrymandering might also be addressed in some manner. Maybe take the drawing of maps out of the hands of politicians and into the hands of statisticians and A.I.
Patrick, Thanks for the info, and thanks for the good laugh the last line gave me.
Todd, right off the bat, your quote is so wondrous.
Registered, since you “ask” so nicely. It is good, and bad, that each state can run its election processes independently.
Years ago, while still living in N.J., I was in the waiting room at a doctor’s office, and overheard a brief exchange between 2 fellows, surprised to have found themselves at that same place, at the same time. One of the men was the father of a Republican fellow who had just been defeated in an election, Ferguson, if memory serves correctly.
After exchanging cordialities, they agreed that “We have work to do.” The son had lost to Rush Holt, for congress. (I had volunteered for Holt.) Once Holt retired, the district was redrawn, and Chris Smith, he of HR3, at one time (stripping women of some rights?), became the rep. of the enlarged district.
Because of gerrymandering “…the 50 Democratic Senators represent 41.5 million more people than the 50 Republicans represent…” therefore, in doing the Senate’s business, each Republican Senator’s vote should count only 86.5 % of a full vote. lol. Don’t forget, the Founders approved of counting people — certain people — in fractions.
Gerrymandering would lose a great deal of its charm, if while doing the people’s business, the outcome of votes were always mathematically weighted to the exact value of the number of people represented by each side’s gerrymandering results.
Posting it to my LWVs FB page & maybe some other places. Nice thing about Zoom, you can go to events that would be too far to drive (NW Chicago Suburbs)
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