There's a new state-by-state guide for tackling partisan gerrymandering
An advocacy project at Princeton University has released a new guide for those who want to combat excessive partisanship in the drawing of legislative districts, hoping it will be a roadmap to help citizens push for fairer maps in all 50 states.
The guide was created by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project and released on the heels of last month's Supreme Court ruling that federal courts will not be in the business of assessing partisan gerrymandering claims.
The Princeton project's state information page offers a color-coded map that divides states by "key redistricting features." Eighteen are shaded dark or light green, for example, signaling a third-party commission or demographer already guides the drawing of voting districts.
Clicking any state reveals sections that explain how redistricting happens, the latest news and events there, actions that people can take to push for reform, as well as information about local advocacy groups and redistricting, in general.
Take New Hampshire, for example. On the state page, a visitor learns that the legislature has passed a redistricting-commission bill and is advised to contact the governor to encourage him to sign it.
Sam Wang, the Princeton neuroscience professor who founded the project, coauthored an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing that partisan gerrymanders can be measured using a variety of tools, an argument that the court's conservative majority rejected last month
"Now that the Supreme Court has run away from partisan gerrymandering, it's time to fight on a state-by-state basis," he wrote in a blog post announcing his state-level database.
- Bipartisan forces build to reverse Missouri's gerrymandering reform ... ›
- High court to voters: You deal with partisan gerrymandering. - The ... ›
The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.
FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."
Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.
Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.
The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.
A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.
Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.