Obama Asks America To Unite Against GOP Vote Suppression

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As the post-census redistricting process gradually gets moving around the United States, former President Barack Obama has again publicly called on Americans to unite against political manipulation of the district line-drawing process. Although the tactic is not necessarily somehow automatically exclusive to Republicans, leaders from the Republican Party have repeatedly engaged in what’s called gerrymandering, which entails manipulations of district lines to provide their party with a political advantage. In the past, officials have drawn district lines to put their own supporters in the majority in as many individual districts as possible, which undercuts the basic democratic principle of a proportional representation in government of the interests of the people.

An organization called All On The Line has helped lead advocacy against gerrymandering as this latest redistricting process has approached. Essentially, gerrymandering is a form of voter suppression, since those opposition voters targeted by people in power end up with less of an ability to make their voices substantively heard. Obama pointedly commented as follows:

‘We’re at a turning point in the redistricting process, and maps drawn in the next 12 months will determine the next decade of representation in our country. @AllOnTheLine is empowering folks to demand accountability during redistricting—join them: http://AllOnTheLine.org’

Redistricting — and, more specifically, gerrymandering — are issues with broad potential impacts, since the outcome of the process of drawing district lines can affect the ability of voters to make meaningful change on an array of issues. While court cases can provide an opportunity to force officials to put fairer district lines in place, those cases can take significant lengths of time to unfold, and in the meantime, elections may take place with those unfair lines in operation. The threat of gerrymandering looms alongside threats from other GOP voter suppression moves, like the restrictive laws that have been put in place by Republican officials in certain states following last year’s elections. These laws include new voter ID requirements and new restrictions around the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots, although no systematic integrity issues have been discovered with last year’s election cycle.