By Judy Zaunbrecher, LWVMA Co-President
The national League of Women Voters has kicked off the People Powered Fair Maps Campaign, a nationwide campaign to reform redistricting on a state-by-state basis, once and for all. The U.S. Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in the Rucho case failed to take a stand for voters and establish limits for when partisan gerrymandering goes too far. That decision, plus the 2013 Supreme Court decision that gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, has left the field wide open to politicians to draw districts and to suppress the vote for partisan purposes. The end result of these tactics is large swaths of voters are left with a government that does not reflect their views and values nor is it responsive to their voices and needs.
In response, the League has launched a nationwide campaign signed on by all 50 state Leagues plus the District of Columbia League to reform redistricting at a state level.
Why take this approach? Over the past few years there have been successes at the state level, including Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, and Ohio, overturning gerrymandered districts or putting non-partisan citizen redistricting commissions in place. The strategies that lead to these successes were different and tailored to work in each of these states. And, because we are a national organization, we will share our successes, resources, and advice with each other to build to nationwide success. The 50-state strategy used by the suffragettes 100 years ago to achieve ratification of the 19th Amendment is our inspiration for this campaign.
Each state League will develop the strategy that fits that state. In Massachusetts, our goals for this campaign are:
- Ensure the 2021 redistricting in Massachusetts is a transparent process and includes public participation.
- Work in our communities and with partners to ensure a complete count for the 2020 Census.
- Educate the public and advocate for restoration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 through the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, the For the People Act, and other legislation.
Our campaign will include diverse voices and points of view to set goals and strategies and be equitable and inclusive in the organizing and execution of the plan. This campaign will be built on collaboration—between the national, state, and local Leagues and with other civic, good government, and civil and voting rights organizations.
In the near future, we will be sending you further information regarding ways for local Leagues and individual members to be involved and ensure the 2021 redistricting is powered by the people and produces fair maps—here in Massachusetts and around the US.
Judy recently attended an LWVUS briefing on the People Powered Fair Maps Campaign.