N.C. gerrymandering fight finishes with GOP losing 2 seats
The nation's most prominent partisan gerrymandering fight is over. A newly drawn congressional district map for North Carolina will be used in the next election, a panel of three state judges has ruled.
The decision, announced late Monday, brings closure to the most pressing dispute in the country over the limits that politicians may go to in order to pick their own voters, rather than the other way around.
The end result is North Carolina is highly likely to elect five Democrats to Congress in 2020, two more than in most of this decade. Aggressive mapmaking by the Republicans who dominate the General Assembly had resulted in just three of 13 House seats going to Democrats even though their slate of candidates was securing about half the statewide congressional vote — and a slim but clear majority last year.
Baltimore is on the cusp of becoming one of the biggest cities in the country that gives taxpayer money to candidates willing to wean themselves off other sources of campaign cash.
The City Council approved legislation Monday creating a system of public matching funds for people running for local office who forswear donations from political action committees, corporations or unions — or from constituents wanting to give more than $150. Unless Democratic Mayor Jack Young rejects the bill, which seems unlikely, the system will take effect in the 2024 municipal campaign.
While the idea is effectively a dead letter at the federal level, public funding has gained steady popularity in states and localities, where advocates have successfully sold the idea as a way to stanch the sway that big money contributors exert on policymakers. Fourteen states and at least as many cities and counties now use grants, matching funds or vouchers to steer candidates away from private money.
The constitutionality of one of the nation's strictest curbs on felon voting was debated in a federal appeals court Tuesday.
A coalition of groups on both the left and right, from the ACLU and NAACP to the libertarian Cato Institute, have joined the cause of almost 200,000 Mississippians who have done their time but may never vote again without a governor's pardon or a reprieve from the Legislature. The state says it has almost limitless leeway under the Constitution to set those parameters.
However the case gets decided by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a subsequent ruling by the Supreme Court could provide definitive word on the future of expanded voting rights for convicts, which has emerged as one of the top democracy reform causes of the decade.
"Replacing Donald Trump is a necessary condition for most forms of federal democracy legislation," argues Avi Green of Scholars Strategy Network.
Join the United States of Women on Dec. 7 to learn more about the fight for gender equity. They'll talk about the work being done in Connecticut and around the country.