News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

High court to voters: You deal with partisan gerrymandering.

High court to voters: You deal with partisan gerrymandering.

For those who rank political muscle-flexing in electoral mapmaking among the most menacing threats to democracy, the Supreme Court has provided an array of suggestions:

Convince your self-aggrandizing state legislators to cool it. Look for protection in the courts of your own state. Persuade Congress to set a national rule that politicians cannot draw election boundaries, or else come up with a national standard for partisan excesses in setting the lines. Or orchestrate statewide ballot initiatives turning the congressional and state legislative cartographic powers over to independent experts.

In short, the justices said Thursday, do anything you like except look for us to referee the limits of partisan gerrymandering; the Constitution does not contain an explanation for how to do it, and so we are not going to.

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First debate: Democracy reform by the numbers

Did we miss the question about voting rights? How about gerrymandering? Anyone care about election security?


In the first Democratic presidential primary debate, those and other democracy reform issues took a back seat to "kitchen table" topics such as the economy, health care and immigration.

Despite the moderators' lack of interest in the candidates' democracy reform proposals, some of the presidential hopefuls snuck in tidbits anyway.

Here's a by-the-numbers takeaway from the first debate (from The Fulcrum angle):

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The question to ask in 2020

It's a shame that no one will ask the candidates a single question on the topic most needing discussion – the state of our democracy, writes Michael V. Murphy, who runs the FixUs for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a trio of democracy reform bills this week.

California governor signs three political reform bills

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Tuesday three democracy reform bills focused on local redistricting, voting access and campaign contributions.

The first piece of legislation prohibits partisan gerrymandering at the local level by establishing criteria for cities and counties to use when adjusting district boundaries. While California is the largest state to use an independent redistricting commission to draw its congressional and state district maps, local districts did not have the same regulations.

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Gov. Ralph Northam used his executive authority to restore voting rights for felons, noting that Virginia is among the states that permanently strips such rights after a felony conviction.

Virginia governor restores voting rights to over 22,000 felons

More than 22,000 Virginians with felony convictions have regained the right to vote thanks to executive actions taken by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam since he took office in January 2018, his office announced this week.

In a statement, Northam's office said he has so far restored the civil rights of 22,205 people who had been convicted of felonies and have since completed their sentences. Those civil rights include the right to vote as well as the right to serve on juries, run for public office and become a notary public.

Northam previously announced in February that nearly 11,000 convicted felons had their voting rights restored under his watch.

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