Must read: The man behind North Carolina gerrymandering
Last week, North Carolina's state legislative map was struck down by a three-judge panel that said it violated the state's constitution. And while anti-gerrymandering activists are pledging to follow the North Carolina model as they expand efforts to other states, a fascinating story has emerged about the the machinations that led to the current maps.
The Tar Heel State map was a part of a larger group masterminded by Republican operative Thomas Hofeller, who died last year. And not only did Hofeller create partisan gerrymandered maps, The New Yorker reports, those districts were drawn using racial demographic data — which is constitutionally suspect. This allowed Republicans to win congressional seats in areas that otherwise would have been majority-minority seats.
One of the most egregious examples of racial gerrymandering was the division of the historically black college North Carolina A&T State University, which was split down the middle of campus in order to break up the black voting bloc in Greensboro.
Read the full story in The New Yorker.
A top issue on the democracy reform agenda — protecting elections against both disinformation and cyber hacking — is getting some unusual attention this week in the Democratic presidential campaign.
Amy Klobuchar, arguably at the top of the second tier of candidates given her rising support in Iowa, went to Atlanta on Monday to highlight her efforts in the Senate to enhance election security and to unveil some additional proposals.
The choice of location made sense for two reasons. She and nine other Democrats will meet in the city Wednesday night for their latest in a series of debates where the governing system's problems have so far received short shrift. And Georgia has emerged as the most prominent state where bolstering voting rights and election integrity have become a top priority of the Democratic establishment.
The latest effort to ease restrictions on voting through litigation is a challenge to Mississippi's requirement that naturalized citizens show proof of their citizenship when they register.
The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, says the law is unconstitutional because it violates of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause by treating one category of citizens differently from another. People born in the United States need only check a box on the state's registration form attesting they are citizens.
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which helped bring the suit, says Mississippi is the only state with a unique mandate for would-be voters who were not born American citizens.