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Redistricting

Redistricting commission plan vetoed by N.H. governor

Gov. Chris Sununu has vetoed legislation that would have created an independent commission to draw New Hampshire's electoral boundaries.

A first principle of the democracy reform movement is that the job of electoral mapmaking must be taken out of the hands of the politicians running each state, because whether they're Republicans or Democrats their top priority will be gerrymandering the districts to perpetuate their own partisan advantage.

But the Republican governor, in the veto message released Friday, said the state Constitution gives elected officials — state legislators and the governor — the authority to draw lines for congressional districts, state legislative districts and members of the governor's executive council.

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Citizens Redistricting Commission

The 14-person Citizens Redistricting Commission managed California's redistricting for the first time in 2011. Nearly 14,000 people have applied for one of the seats for the post-2020 remapping process.

Surge of interest by would-be citizen mapmakers in California

So many people want to draw the political boundaries for the nation's biggest state that California's Citizens Redistricting Commission application deadline has been extended.

State Auditor Elaine Howle, who is in charge of an extraordinarily complex process for selecting the 14 "ordinary citizen" commissioners, set a new deadline of Aug. 19 after reporting she's received 13,735 applications in eight weeks — and that the papers are now coming in at a rate of 1,000 a day.

"Many more Californians who are learning more about redistricting and are developing an interest in the opportunity may now want to take advantage of the chance to draw California's congressional and state legislative district lines," she said in announcing the extension.

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Ugly Gerry

The Gerry font comes up with all 26 letters by mashing up and rotating just 31 House districts. See our slideshow at the bottom for details.

Expressing your anger at gerrymandering? There's a font for that.

Plenty of congressional districts get mocked for looking like parts of a Rorschach test. But only now have some creative folks conjured up the letters A through Z.

It was hard not to see "a rabbit on a skateboard" in last decade's map for Illinois, or "Goofy kicking Donald Duck" in the Philadelphia suburbs until a few years ago, or — most famously — a salamander slithering across Massachusetts in the 19th century map approved by Gov. Elbridge Gerry, which gave rise to the derisive term gerrymandering for such convoluted contouring.

But today's map of the House of Representatives, it turns out, contains an unsightly but still readily readable alphabet.

Redistricting reformers with a sense of humor, or at least looking for a fresh way to make their point, are welcome to go to UglyGerry.com and download the letters for free.

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Opinion
Image Courtesy: FairVote

Why multi-member districts with fair voting rules would be a boon to women

Gilda Geist is a rising sophomore at Brandeis University and an intern at RepresentWomen. The non-partisan organization advances women's representation and leadership by advocating for reforms so that more women run, win, serve, and lead.

In response to the recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld partisan gerrymandering, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia reintroduced the Fair Representation Act on July 25. This bill would implement ranked choice voting, multi-member House districts and rules for congressional redistricting.

What do all three have in common? They're simpler than they seem and are important for increasing women's representation in American government. Currently, women make up 24 percent of Congress, 29 percent of state legislators, and 0 percent of all U.S. presidents. This is because our current voting system protects incumbents, limits competition and perpetuates the status quo.

One way the Beyer bill would tackle this issue is ranked choice voting. This is an electoral method where instead of choosing only one favorite candidate, voters can rank the candidates in order of preference.

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