Republicans in charge of the Arizona Legislature are hoping to restrict the powers of the state's independent redistricting commission before the new maps are drawn next year.
At issue is just how close to identical in population the state's legislative districts should be. A variation of as much as 10 percent had been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, and at the start of this decade the independent panel used that benchmark— which means about 20,000 people in Arizona — in order to create several reliably Democratic districts where Latinos and Native Americans were very likely to get elected.
GOP lawmakers are now pushing a measure that would limit the population differential to 5,000 in the coming decade, hoping that would help them secure more seats and grow their narrow majorities at the statehouse in Phoenix.
The debate over gerrymandering often focuses on what partisan mapmaking means for election outcomes. But that's just the means to a policy-making end. A liberal think tank has just released its second report demonstrating how gerrymandering impacts legislative decisions, this time focusing on Medicaid.
A study released Monday by the Center for American Progress details the impacts gerrymandering has had on how states determine Medicaid eligibility. CAP found that despite significant bipartisan support for Medicaid nationwide, states with Republican-controlled legislatures were more likely to limit access to the government-subsidized health insurance.
CAP is part of a growing movement advocating for a change in the way congressional and state legislative district maps have traditionally been drawn. Rather than have state lawmakers decide, redistricting reform groups say, independent commissions should have the mapmaking authority.
"A fair process for drawing districts is fundamental to democracy, helping to ensure that voters' voices are heard on critical issues such as access to health care," the report states.
An amendment could stop gerrymandering in Virginia — but only if we help it win. Help secure a huge anti-corruption victory by calling Virginia voters and connecting them to politicians and demand an end to gerrymandering!
Virginia's anti-gerrymandering amendment is gaining steam, but there are still a number of delegates who haven't announced their position, and need to hear from their voters. On March 5th, we are gathering in Cary, North Carolina to support our friends in Virginia by making calls to VA voters. All you need is a computer and headset, and you'll be good to go!
We're calling Virginia voters and connecting them to their undecided representatives to show them that voters want an answer. Never phonebanked before? Have no fear — we'll train you on the script and dialer and make sure you have everything you need to start making calls.
Location: Cary, NC
If you've never been to Springfield to meet with your legislators before, this is a great opportunity! On the morning of the 26th, buses will pick people up from across the state to head to Springfield. With the help of CHANGE Illinois staff and our coalition partners, participants will have a chance to meet with their elected officials and urge them to support fair maps and come together for a massive rally in the State Capitol with some great speakers.
When it comes to ending gerrymandering, there is such a thing as being too late. If our legislators don't take action in the next 100 days, we will be stuck with politically-motivated maps that allow politicians to choose their own voters for the next decade. That's why it is so important that we have you at this rally.
Location: Illinois State Capitol, 301 S 2nd St., Springfield IL