I just learned about a type of gerrymandering that blows my mind. A thread. (With real action at the end, I promise! Silver lining coming.)
Catching up on #PodSavethePeople with @deray, @samswey, @MsPackyetti + @ClintSmithIII. A thing that the Census Bureau is doing: Making residence rules for incarcerated people so that their legal home residences don’t matter, but the locations where they are incarcerated do.
This means that even though incarcerated folks can’t vote, their bodies are being counted in the communities where they are imprisoned rather than in their home areas. This is called Prison-based gerrymandering.
Guess what prison-based gerrymandering results in? Bingo! Extra representation for rural (often white) areas that have prisons. They get to count (many POC) non-voters among their population. That results in less representation in the incarcerated peoples’ true home districts.
Now the Census Bureau doesn’t do this with, say, boarding school students, who often spend more time in their boarding schools than incarcerated people spend in prison. Those boarding school folks are counted at their home addresses.
The deft comparison of this policy to the 3/5ths compromise is spot on here. This is outrageous.
But here’s that silver lining: Even if the federal census bureau does this, states can get around it. NY, CA, MD and a few other states have ruled that incarcerated people should be counted at their home addresses. Thus, their census data reflects that.
What does that mean? It means that this gerrymandering, like so many things, can be handled at the state level as we push the federal government to do what’s right. State Senators and State Assemblypeople can lead here. Here comes my drumbeat: #StateElectionsMatter
Know who your state reps are. Know their stance on this deceitful practice. Support state-level candidates who would make our Census fair. The future of fair voting—and the future of democracy—depends on it.
(I know that last part sounds grandiose but it's really true! The stakes are HIGH! There are people in the Republican party who truly don't want us to have free and fair elections.) End thread.
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