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This League of Women Voters map shows how the group plans to focus its $500,000 anti-gerrymandering campaign in each state over the next three years.

League of Women Voters launches $500K anti-gerrymandering campaign

The League of Women Voters is launching a half-million-dollar nationwide campaign to make sure the country's electoral boundaries are drawn to assure more competition in the next decade.

The plan, announced Thursday by one of the nation's most venerable civic organizations, is "focused on creating fair political maps nationwide" — a goal that's not otherwise explicitly explained, but seems clearly intended to tackle the rise in aggressively partisan gerrymandering.

The investment toward the adoption of voting districts drawn without partisan intent following the 2020 census includes varying approaches.

The focus areas include helping pass or protect ballot measures creating independent commissions in 21 states, where such initiatives have already been approved or could be proposed to voters.

The group also plans to ensure fair redistricting provisions are followed in the 18 states where such provisions are mandated in state constitutions. This week, for example, a panel of judges in North Carolina ordered a remapping of all state legislative districts on the grounds the current map's Republican bias violates the rights of Democratic voters under several provisions of the state's constitution. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania threw out a congressional district map last year.

In 26 states, LWV chapters will focus on state laws related to the redistricting process, such as improving the public input process and increasing transparency over map-making decisions.

Other aspects of the group's People Powered Fair Maps Campaign include working with congressional lawmakers from 18 states to push federal legislation that would strengthen the Voting Rights Act ahead of the next redistricting as well as public outreach to improve community engagement around the redistricting process.

The Supreme Court's ruling in June that banned fair map advocates from challenging partisan gerrymandered districts in federal court spurred LWV's multi-year campaign, League of Women Voters CEP Virginia Kase said in a statement.

"When the Supreme Court ruled that federal courts could not play a role in policing partisan gerrymandering, we realized that, while the decision was a blow to our efforts, it also presented an opportunity for us to lead a national conversation about other fixes to this flaw in our democracy," Kase said.

The $500,000 advocacy, education and mobilization campaign will continue through 2021, when the bulk of redistricting at the congressional, state and local levels will take place.

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The House on Friday passed legislation to restore a provision of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013. The bill would require advance approval of voting changes in states with a history of discrimination. Here President Lyndon Johnson shares one of the pens he used to sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965 with civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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In a partisan vote on an issue that once was bipartisan, House Democrats pushed through legislation Friday that would restore a key portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Advancement Act passed the House 228-187, with all Democrats voting for the bill and all but one Republican, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, voting against it.

The bill faces virtually no chance of being considered in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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TV stations fight FCC over political ad disclosure

Broadcasters are pushing back against the Federal Communications Commission after the agency made clear it wants broader public disclosure regarding TV political ads.

With the 2020 election less than a year away and political TV ads running more frequently, the FCC issued a lengthy order to clear up any ambiguities licensees of TV stations had regarding their responsibility to record information about ad content and sponsorship. In response, a dozen broadcasting stations sent a petition to the agency, asking it to consider a more narrow interpretation of the law.

This dispute over disclosure rules for TV ads comes at a time when digital ads are subject to little regulation. Efforts to apply the same rules for TV, radio and print advertising across the internet have been stymied by Congress's partisanship and the Federal Election Commission being effectively out of commission.

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1952 Eisenhower Answers America

On TV, political ads are regulated – but online, anything goes

Lightman is a professor of digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University.

With the 2020 election less than a year away, Facebook is under fire from presidential candidates, lawmakers, civil rights groups and even its own employees to provide more transparency on political ads and potentially stop running them altogether.

Meanwhile, Twitter has announced that it will not allow any political ads on its platform.

Modern-day online ads use sophisticated tools to promote political agendas with a high degree of specificity.

I have closely studied how information propagates through social channels and its impact on political messaging and advertising.

Looking back at the history of mass media and political ads in the national narrative, I think it's important to focus on how TV advertising, which is monitored by the Federal Communications Commission, differs fundamentally with the world of social media.

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