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The State of Reform
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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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Howard Gorrell

The author at Mount Tahtali in Turkey last fall. He is now stuck in Croatia because of coronavirus travel curbs.

Stuck abroad, with no good reason why I'm not counted in the census

Gorrell is a retired advocate for the deaf, a former Republican Party statistician and a longtime congressional aide. He has been advocating against partisan gerrymandering for four decades.

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Vows on Hill and in court to stop Trump from keeping immigrants out of House count

Democrats and civil liberties groups are threatening legislation and lawsuits to prevent President Trump from excluding undocumented immigrants from the population counts used to apportion House seats for the next decade.

The president directed the government on Tuesday to provide the states with census numbers that exclude millions of people living in the country illegally — setting up a potential balance of powers fight as well as a constitutional dispute over whether congressional districts should be drawn based on numbers of people, as has been the long-standing practice, or only citizens.

Civil rights groups gave notice in federal court Wednesday that they would fight Trump's effort. The American Civil Liberties Union readied a separate lawsuit. The House Oversight and Reform Committee announced it would convene an emergency hearing next week and may write a bill to thwart the president. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed that Democrats "will vigorously contest the president's unconstitutional and unlawful attempt to impair the census."

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