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Redistricting
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Barack Obama and Eric Holder are the faces of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is waging a mostly partisan fight against partisan gerrymandering.

State court races eyed by Democratic group central to gerrymandering fight

The campaign operation backed by Barack Obama and Eric Holder is expanding its sights.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee was created by the former president and his attorney general to elect more Democratic legislators who could help the party in the coming nationwide remapping of congressional districts. Now it's growing its ambitions to include some judicial elections.

The first target is a pair of Supreme Court contests in Ohio. That's because winning both this fall would tip the partisan balance of the court, and those justices are likely to end up deciding the lines for the 15 House districts that the seventh largest state is likely to have in the coming decade, one fewer than today.

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Courtesy: Katy Batdorff

Don Lee gathers signatures for the proposed local referendum and registers voters at the Apartment Lounge in Grand Rapids.

The Fahey Q&A with Don Lee, advocate of equal representation

Having organized last year's grassroots movement Voters Not Politicians ending Michigan's politicized gerrymandering, Fahey is now executive director of The People, which is forming statewide networks to promote government accountability. She interviews a colleague in the world of democracy reform each month for our Opinion section.

Don Lee leads the Grand Rapids Democracy Initiative, which is advocating to expand the size of the city council in Michigan's second largest city in order to give more neighborhoods and demographics a voice. He's the chair of the Eastown Community Association and has been an adjunct lecturer at Aquinas College, my alma mater. When he reached out to me this summer about his group, we were excited to help them work towards a more representative democracy in a place we both have called home.

Our recent conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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Big Picture

Civil rights groups sound alarm about a coming census undercount

Staffing cutbacks, poor planning and inadequate outreach by the federal government all threaten an undercount of minority group members, the poor and rural Americans in the coming census, leaders of civil rights groups are warning Congress.

After failing a decade ago to count more than 1.5 million African-Americans and Latinos, as well as 50,000 American Indians and Native Alaskans, the Census Bureau's planned reduction of local offices and field workers for the enumeration this spring has sparked fears that the 2020 undercount will be even more significant — and with lasting consequences.

Such inaccuracies could result in several congressional seats being given to the wrong states, and billions of dollars in federal aid being wrongly allocated for the next decade, the civil rights advocates told a House panel on Thursday.

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The former New York mayor, above talking to reporters this week, is the last presidential candidate to detail his plan for fixing the system's ills.

Bloomberg joins other Democrats with broad plans for democracy reform

Citizens would be automatically registered to vote, or they could register online or on Election Day, under a comprehensive voting rights proposal unveiled Friday by Mike Bloomberg.

He is the last of the prominent Democratic candidates for president to detail an agenda for making the democratic process work better. The plan was unveiled as Bloomberg took his campaign to Georgia for an appearance with Stacey Abrams, one of the most prominent civil rights advocates in the country.

"The right to vote is the fundamental right that protects all others, but in states around the country it is under attack," Bloomberg said in a statement released by his campaign.

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