Category Archives: Redistricting

A reform agenda for voting rights

Despite all the horror stories about “red state” voter suppression efforts in this election, there was also some good news for voting rights in the states as well. The New York Times reports, Before the Fights Over Recounts: An Election Day Vote on Voting:

In Tuesday’s elections [there was] a wave of actions aimed at making voting easier and fairer that is an often-overlooked strain in the nation’s voting wars.

Floridians extended voting rights to 1.4 million convicted felons. Maryland, Nevada and Michigan were among states that made it easier to register and vote.

From the Brennan Center for Justice:

Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) is gaining momentum across the country. Currently fifteen states and D.C. have approved the policy, meaning that over a third of Americans live in a jurisdiction that has either passed or implemented AVR. A brief history of AVR’s legislative victories and each state’s AVR implementation date can be found here. This year alone, twenty states have introduced legislation to implement or expand automatic registration, and an additional eight states had bills carry over from the 2017 legislative session. A full breakdown of these bills, as well as those introduced in 2015, 2016, and 2017, is available here.

Where AVR Has Passed 11-8-18

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LD 17 Democrats shine in Clean Elections Debate


LD 17 Democratic State Senate Nominee Steve Weichert and State House Nominee Jennifer Pawlik

Arizona Local District 17, which includes all or parts of Gilbert, Chandler, and Sun Lakes, is becoming increasingly purple over the last two years. Some pundits and commentators like the organization Flippable, seeing a potential blue wave coming in November, feel that Democratic House Nominee Jennifer Pawlik and Democratic Senate Nominee Steve Weichert have a good chance of defeating their Republican counterparts in the next election.

On Tuesday, October 9, both Ms. Pawlik and Mr. Weichert attended the Clean Elections Debate in the second floor Copper Room of the Chandler Public Library. Republican and current Arizona Speaker of the House JD Mesnard, the Republican nominee for the State Senate seat also attended. The two House Republican candidates competing against Ms. Pawlik did not appear at this event, continuing a pattern across the county of the Party of Lincoln nominees being too busy to engage and discuss their views with the people.

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UA Conference on Redistricting on October 5 & 6

A Multidisciplinary Public Forum

“​Congressional and legislative district boundaries are being hotly debated in many states, with three cases before the US Supreme Court this term and more likely on the horizon. Arizona is at the forefront of this debate, establishing an Independent Redistricting Commission, AIRC, in 2000—one of the first states to do so. Arizona’s innovative process and favorable legal decisions, including two victories in the US Supreme Court, are now important precedents for other states.

On October 5-6, 2018, the University of Arizona will host an interdisciplinary conference on redistricting, highlighting the legal challenges, the contributions of mathematicians and political scientists, and the policy implications of redistricting. The conference will be free and open to the public, who are welcomed to a discussion of issues that affect the citizens of every state.”





4:30 PM – 8 PM


8:00 AM – 5:30 PM




TUCSON, AZ 85721

FREE Registration

4:00-5:00 Check-in

5:00-6:00 Reception with welcoming remarks

6:00-8:00 Presentation: The Role of the US Supreme Court in Gerrymandering and Redistricting with an Update on Recent Cases

Racial and Partisan Gerrymandering, Voting Rights Act

Recent cases: Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Maryland, etc.


Saturday, Oct 6

8:30-9:00 Coffee/Pastry

National Focus

9:00-9:40 Presentation: History of Gerrymandering in the US


9:45-10:15 Presentation: US Census and Importance of Fair & Accurate Count


10:30-11:00 Presentation: Math, Politics and Law in the Study of Gerrymandering

11:00-12:00 Presentation or Panel: Measures of Gerrymandering


12:00-1:00 Lunch

Arizona Focus

1:00-2:00 Presentation: Independent Redistricting in Arizona


2:00-3:15 Panel: Legal Precedents from Arizona


3:30-4:30 Panel: National Political Considerations and Realities


4:30-5:00 Panel: National Outlook for 2020 Redistricting: Arizona and Beyond

5:00 Wrap Up


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GOP is a Cancerous Entity that is Reactionary, Undemocratic, and Xenophobic

It has come to this. Today’s America (and Arizona)  is the result of 40 years of conservative southern strategizing, negotiating Faustian bargains with segregationist Democrats and the evangelical community. It is the result of dog whistle ads like the “Willie Horton” ad in 1988, obstructing two Democratic administrations on issues like infrastructure, healthcare, raising wages, and immigration that the people wanted. It is the result of gerrymandering congressional districts that give them majorities when the Democrats win the national vote, and embracing underhanded tactics with domestic and (in the case of 2016) foreign sources that “stole” the election from the people’s choice for President.

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The death of democracy is in our demographics, and our antiquated Constitution

Ezra Klein at made several important observations about our democracy in a recent post about President Trump’s nomination of an associate justice to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court vs. democracy:

Such appointments are becoming the norm. With Justice Kennedy’s replacement, four out of the Supreme Court’s nine justices — all of whom have lifetime tenure — will have been nominated by presidents who won the White House, at least initially, despite losing the popular vote.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. America, for all its proud democratic rhetoric, is not actually a democracy. Until and unless the country chooses to abolish the Electoral College, it will remain not-quite-a-democracy, with all the strange outcomes that entails. Liberals may complain, but the rules are the rules, and both sides know what they are.

But the Supreme Court’s conservative bloc doesn’t just reflect the outcomes of America’s undemocratic electoral rules; it is writing and, in some cases, rewriting them, to favor the Republican Party — making it easier to suppress votes, simpler for corporations and billionaires to buy elections, and legal for incumbents to gerrymander districts to protect and enhance their majorities.

The Supreme Court has always been undemocratic. What it’s becoming is something more dangerous: anti-democratic.

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