We can stop the Republicans who are manipulating new voting districts to gain power in Congress.
Kelly Ward Burton conveyed that message on January 6 in a special Together We Elect meeting. More than 100 attendees heard Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), speak on redistricting, gerrymandering, and her group’s comprehensive plan to achieve fair maps. The work includes filing lawsuits, galvanizing activists, and supporting democracy reform bills like the Freedom to Vote and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement acts.
The outcome of the November 2022 Congressional midterm elections will depend on who votes. The GOP is passing voter suppression measures and plotting to create districts that dilute or even eliminate the power of the electorate.
For example, 95 percent of the population growth in Texas was due to people of color, which granted the state two additional House seats. But the Texas legislature maps have cut 10 out of the 11 competitive House seats, she pointed out, thus silencing the voices of Latino, Black, and Asian Texans. Reducing competition makes a mockery of the “one person, one vote” ideal that is the basis of democracy.
On the other hand, the NDRC is not trying to rig the maps, she said; instead, the group is pressing for maps that truly reflect the makeup of the electorate.
“There is no question that the Republicans came into the redistricting process with the intent to take back the House for the next decade through the maps. They say that openly,” Burton remarked. “We are not afraid of the voters. If the maps are fair, Democrats will do just fine. Progressives will be well-represented.”
After Burton took questions, members of Together We Elect talked about what opportunities for action are available through the Together We Elect website.
The responses from the audience were as energizing as Burton’s presentation.
“It’s made me feel more hopeful about doing the work as well as offering some ways to get active now,” said Nina C.
Pam L. expressed a sense of urgency. “It’s imperative we all do whatever possible to save our democracy. I sent in my email [volunteering] to phone bank.”
“It’s inspiring to be together and hear about things to do on this January 6,” said Lynne L.
If you missed the Jan. 6 meeting with Kelly Ward Burton or want to hear her again, you can access a video of the meeting.