Donate
News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
The State of Reform
Download Unite America’s free report
Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.
MOST READ
mapchart.net

Mapmaking commission effort comes up way short in Nevada

Nevada will remain a state where politicians get to draw the election boundaries they run in. Advocates for turning the mapmaking over to an independent panel have conceded defeat.

Fair Maps Nevada announced Tuesday it was able to collect only 12,000 of the 98,000 signatures required to get their proposal on the November ballot, giving up a week ahead of the deadline. The group said it was stymied by the social distancing and safety protocols mandated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Assigning independent commissions to draw congressional and legislative district lines, instead of the state legislators themselves, is widely regarded as the best way to combat partisan gerrymandering. This year's election is effectively the last chance for states to make the switch in time for the maps being drawn for the next decade.

Keep reading... Show less
Hill Street Studios/Getty Images

Redistricting reformers to Oregon voters: You've got mail

In keeping with social distancing mandates, crusaders against partisan gerrymandering in Oregon have settled on a new old-fashioned way to recruit allies: Send a letter, by snail mail.

With the coronavirus pandemic ruling out traditional in-person canvassing across the country, many grassroots democracy efforts have gone silent — some after failing to get permission to obtain electronic signatures for their ballot measures.

Redistricting reformers in Oregon aren't going down the online route. Instead they are mailing copies of their ballot proposal, which would turn legislative mapmaking over to an independent redistricting commission, to half a million residential addresses in search of handwritten endorsements.

Keep reading... Show less

Cinderella bracket continues in Democracy Madness

The Final Four in the Elections quarter of our Democracy Madness draw is upon us — and it turns out only one top seed has made it to the regional semifinals.

Keep reading... Show less
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Inmates at the Cook County, Ill. jail vote in the state's primary earlier this month. Colorado has passed a law that counts prisoners at the address where they last lived instead of the prison for the purposes of drawing legislative boundaries.

Colorado ends prison gerrymandering

Colorado has become the eighth state to end prison gerrymandering, meaning prisoners will be counted for redistricting purposes at the last place they lived instead of at the site of their incarceration.

Gov. Jared Polis signed that switch into law last week after the bill was passed by his fellow Democrats in control of the General Assembly. New Jersey passed similar legislation earlier this year, and nearly a dozen other states are considering bills, according to the Prison Policy Initiative's Prison Gerrymandering Project.

Proponents of the change say counting people where they are imprisoned when drawing congressional, state legislative and local government districts unfairly shifts power to rural districts at the expense of urban areas where a majority of the prisoners are from.

Keep reading... Show less
© Issue One. All rights reserved.