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The State of Reform
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Redistricting
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Democrats would be assured of dominating Trenton for another term if the referendum is OKd.

New Jersey will vote on keeping gerrymandered map for two extra years

Voters will decide in November whether the next redrawing of New Jersey's legislative districts may be postponed for two years.

It will be one of the more unusual referendums addressing partisan gerrymandering — and yet another wrinkle in the running of democracy wrought by the coronavirus.

Democrats who control the Legislature say keeping current districts in place until 2023 is the fairest thing to do if population reports from the Census Bureau are delayed, which looks likely because of the complications of counting heads in a pandemic. That's a subterfuge for holding on to their seats for an extra term, Republicans complain, while good-government groups say the postponement would deny growing minority populations more influence in Trenton.

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Dorian Spears

Meet the reformer: Dorian Spears, pushing the importance of counting all Tennesseans

Dorian Spears has spent her whole life in Memphis. After college she worked for a social services agency, on a mayoral task force to curb gun violence and as a county economic development official before joining Momentum Nonprofit Partners, which coordinates local philanthropic efforts, three years ago. As chief partnerships officer, her current focus is coordinating efforts to assure a comprehensive census count of Tennessee, especially its cities, to maximize government aid and political power for the state's Black neighborhoods. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length.

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An intermediary that strengthens nonprofits from the inside out through training, peer learning, advocacy, public policy and cross sector partnerships.

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mapchart.net; Tristiaña Hinton/The Fulcrum

Can you spot the gerrymandered congressional district?

Think you can recognize what congressional districts look like? Take this quiz to see if you can pick out which pieces were drawn on maps by legislatures and which ones are abstract doodles created by our staff.

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mapchart.net

Mapmaking commission effort comes up way short in Nevada

Nevada will remain a state where politicians get to draw the election boundaries they run in. Advocates for turning the mapmaking over to an independent panel have conceded defeat.

Fair Maps Nevada announced Tuesday it was able to collect only 12,000 of the 98,000 signatures required to get their proposal on the November ballot, giving up a week ahead of the deadline. The group said it was stymied by the social distancing and safety protocols mandated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Assigning independent commissions to draw congressional and legislative district lines, instead of the state legislators themselves, is widely regarded as the best way to combat partisan gerrymandering. This year's election is effectively the last chance for states to make the switch in time for the maps being drawn for the next decade.

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