Marty Wulfe opened his inbox one day this fall and found an unsettling email from an old friend.
It was a dire warning from the Maryland chapter of Common Cause: Special interests in his state are pushing a "dangerous" proposal for a second constitutional convention.
But Wulfe himself was one of those special interests, because he's a board member of Get Money Out – Maryland. The organization is lobbying the General Assembly to have the state join five others calling for a convention to consider changing the Constitution to allow Congress and state legislatures to rein in money in politics.
While he and other Get Money Out leaders "had a good laugh at being labeled a special interest group," said Wulfe (who views himself as a big fan of Common Cause), the opposition from one of the most venerable voices for democracy reform is no laughing matter. Instead, the rift highlights one of the most impassioned arguments these days in the world of good-government advocacy.
To reduce political influence over legislative and congressional lines, a growing number of states are taking up bipartisan reforms such as Independent Redistricting Commissions to ensure that districts promote the will of voters, not politicians. Maryland, as one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation, must join this movement. Join Common Cause Maryland and the League of Women Voters of Maryland in Baltimore City to learn about California's Citizens Redistricting Commission and how we can adopt a similar model here in Maryland that will help Tame the Gerrymander! We'll be joined by California Commissioner, M. Andre Parvenu - a geographer, urban planner, community outreach specialist, and a former Zoning Analyst with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning. As we prepare to re-draw our district boundaries in 2021, come learn how to join efforts this upcoming session to create a process that will lead to fair maps.
Location: Function Coworking Community, 4709 Harford Rd., Baltimore, MD
Every ten years, the United States conducts a "Decennial Census" with the goal of determining the distribution of resources and political representation by counting every person in the country. In Maryland we are working to ensure an accurate 2020 Census Count to understand our communities' needs and secure the essential resources for our everyday lives e.g. transportation needs, education, healthcare. This data will be also critical the process of redrawing our election maps in 2021, and ensuring our state is able to harness the full political power of every person. Join Common Cause Maryland and the League of Women Voters of Maryland to learn how we can help get out the count and create a redistricting process that that empowers people over politics!
Location: Laurel Library, 507 7th St., Dorothy Height Room, Laurel, MD
Attempts by Republicans to draw legislative maps for the next decade using only the population of citizens would be discriminatory and result in extreme partisan gerrymanders all across the country, Common Cause says.
Common Cause, a venerable nonprofit advocacy group with a liberal bent, issued a report Monday titled "Whitewashing Representation," citing the failed effort by the Trump administration to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.
Results of the census are used to calculate federal benefit allocations to states and communities and to draw the boundaries of state legislative and congressional districts. When lawmakers draw the boundaries, they often favor the party in power to an extreme. But the Supreme Court ruled this year that federal courts have no role in deciding if such partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional, kicking the issue to the states.