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Five Actions You Can Take!

Take to Social Media:  Social media is a great way to address the ethical concerns associated with gerrymandering.  The platform allows advocates to inform the public and change harmful narratives.  Additionally, it allows people to grow communities and mobilize citizens.  On these forums, activists can address the ethical issues with respect to fairness by demanding that objective and nonpartisan committees be in charge of drawing district lines.  They can also educate and inform citizens about the issues with transparency and advocate for a redistricting process that is more opaque, participatory, and collaborative.

Contact your Congressman:  The public can reach out to congressmen directly to tackle the ethical issues related to gerrymandering.  Advocates can accomplish this by writing letters to both federal and state representatives.  They can also take a more straightforward approach and call their legislators.  As stated above, citizens can demand that objective and nonpartisan committees be in charge of drawing electoral lines.  In addition, they can advocate for a redistricting process that is more transparent, participatory, and cooperative.

Open State Meeting Laws:  The law is a great way to demand transparency in the redistricting process.  Many states avoid posting schedules or holding meetings with respect to drawing district lines.  If a state is not being as open or transparent as a citizen likes, then that citizen can insist on more involvement as per the states open meeting laws.  Additionally, the public can demand access to government information by making a formal Freedom of Information Act request. 

To make a FOIA request Go To: http://www.foia.gov/how-to.html

Comment:  Take every opportunity to make your opinions and new knowledge of ethics known to government officials.  Some states do have public meetings and provide a window of opportunity for citizens to comment on electoral maps.  These are prime openings for the public to make their voices heard and put their statements on the record.  A few jurisdictions are also subject to Voting Rights Act Section 5 Pre-clearance in respect to redistricting.  Constituents are allowed to submit comments on federal documents that are liable to this requirement.

For more background on Section 5 please see: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-2797.pdf.

Draw Your Own Map:  Another way to address the ethical issues associated with Gerrymandering is to draw your own district map.  Drawing a map allows constituents to diagram electoral lines that are more competitive and fair.  The public can then submit these plans to congressional representatives for official consideration.  A potential map, however, can only be fully considered if it adheres to a number of rules and regulations. 

If you are considering drawing an electoral district map please check out the following. https://www.caliper.com/maptitude/solutions/political/draw-your-own-congressional-districts.htm


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