2012 was a great year; can you help with 2013?
by Peter Wagner, December 21, 2012
It’s happening! The national movement to end prison-based gerrymandering took huge strides forward in 2012. Some of the victories were easy to see, like in June when the Supreme Court upheld Maryland’s first-in-the-nation law that did what the Census Bureau had refused to do: count incarcerated people as residents of their homes for redistricting purposes.
Other victories were more subtle, like when the Maryland victory this summer finally energized the editorial boards of the Hartford Courant and the Norwich Bulletin to criticize the Connecticut legislature for twice failing to pass the bill to end prison-based gerrymandering, and to demand that the legislature pass it in the next session.
And flying under the national radar are the more than 200 rural counties and cities that have taken a stand against prison-based gerrymandering when drawing county and municipal districts. Impediments to further reform are falling quickly. For example, this year the Virginia legislature unanimously changed state law to give more counties in that state the option to avoid prison-based gerrymandering.
A decade ago, the problem of prison-based gerrymandering was almost entirely hidden. Today, thanks to your support, we’ve put the problem – and the solutions — squarely on the national agenda. Your moral encouragement and financial investment has helped to build my law school project into a national movement that is permanently improving how our democracy works. The research and the outreach you helped fund has enabled us to build a network of hundreds of organizational allies and elected officials across the country, and has won us the ear of the Census Bureau.
As I describe in my Washington Post op-ed, the next Census in 2020 sounds far away, but the key planning is underway now. Together, our movement is making sure that the handful of legislative districts with prisons will no longer be able to dominate the political process.
Our research and advocacy – and this blog – is at the center of this national movement. Our support comes from two foundations and a small network of individual donors. Can you join those donors in making a tax-deductible contribution to support our work today? Thank you for being part of this movement!