Anti-Gerrymandering

Issue Coordinator:

Chris Gavaler

gavalerc@gmail.com

From Chris Gavaler:

I made this bumper sticker back in January 2017. I just added "Vote YES on Amendment 1" because that is THE BEST WAY to stop gerrymandering in Virginia.


There is a lot of misinformation about the amendment and the notion that some other amendment could replace it. That's a manipulative distraction. Because it all comes down to this:


If you want the Democrats in Richmond to be free to gerrymander when they draw the new maps in 2021, then vote NO.


But if you believe gerrymandering is wrong regardless of which party is in power, then vote YES.


Here's why:
ONLY an amendment can stop a 2021 gerrymander.
The anti-gerrymandering law that was passed in 2020 is MEANINGLESS. The legislature can do ANYTHING they like with the new maps because the Virginia constitution gives them complete, unfettered power. No law can change that.


And this has to happen NOW. New maps MUST BE DRAWN next year. There's no stopping that. It can't be paused for two legislative sessions and a general election as some other theoretical new amendment is approved.


And I mean literally RIGHT NOW. Voting has started. There's no pause button for that either.
I'm hearing a lot distracting noise about the amendment not being perfect. Obviously it's not perfect. But it is VERY GOOD.


It guarantees that the two parties will be forced to work together and draw maps that favor neither side. That is the ONLY REASON a redistricting commission exists, and the amendment achieves that goal.


I keep hearing distractions about the commission not being "independent." What does that even mean? The point is to lock the two parties into a forced position where compromise is their only option. The amendment does exactly that.


I hear distractions about the commission having too many "elected officials" or that the parties are in too much control of who serves on it. THAT IS THE POINT of the commission.


The two parties get 8 members each, and then at least 12 members have to agree on a map. It's aggressively bipartisan with no option but compromise. THAT is how you end gerrymandering.


But if Amendment 1 fails, we will be left only with the promise of some theoretical replacement amendment that can't be ratified until after the new maps have been drawn without anything preventing them from being gerrymandered.


It's either Amendment 1 or crossing your fingers and hoping that the Democrats in Richmond will set aside all partisan and personal interests and draw fair maps when they have complete power to make them as unfair as the GOP maps were against Democrats for the past decade.


The majority party gerrymanders. That's why it's so incredibly difficult to stop the perfectly legal but entirely anti-democratic practice. Virginia voters have ONCE CHANCE to do this, and it's RIGHT NOW.
If you believe in fairness and principles, vote YES.
If you believe in revenge and hypocrisy, then vote NO.


Or maybe you actually think the Richmond Democrats are above gerrymandering? That our side are the "good guys," and it's only those "bad guy" Republicans who would ever do something so terrible as gerrymandering?


Grow up.


I'm not going to gamble away this amendment on a roll of the dice and the blind hope that incumbents will all suddenly become superhuman angels overnight. We're talking about politicians.
Power corrupts. Gerrymandering has proven that again and again and again.


END IT NOW.

The Virginia Redistricting Commission Amendment, passed by the last two legislatures in January 2020 and January 2019, is Virginia’s best chance at eliminating the anti-democratic policy of gerrymandering. 

The amendment would transfer the power to draw congressional and state legislative districts to a 16-member redistricting commission. The General Assembly would still vote on the maps, but without the power to alter them. If a map is rejected, the commission would design a new one, and if it’s rejected again, the Virginia Supreme Court would decide instead.

For the amendment to become part of the Virginia constitution, Virginia voters must approve it on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The Anti-gerrymandering group has been working toward that outcome since 50 Ways formed at the end of 2016, and all of that hard work is on the verge of achieving victory.

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50 Ways Rockbridge is a group of concerned citizens from Rockbridge County, Virginia, working together to research, educate, and act on major issues that affect all of the 50 United States, especially Virginia and our local area. Our guiding political principles are inclusion and fairness.

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