07/15/18 – Frederick, MD – On Sunday, the Tame the Gerrymander coalition hosted over 50 activists and more passersby in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, the subject of the recent Supreme Court case Benisek v. Lamone. Activists gathered at the Carroll Creek Amphitheater for their mock celebration for the birthday of Elbridge Gerry, the namesake of the term gerrymandering. The event included gerrymandering-themed birthday games, speakers, as well as an Elbridge Gerry impersonator in a dunk booth.
The coalition marks Gerry’s birthday each year in different ways – in the past, they have hosted a 225-mile relay and a 10-mile, 4-district ‘restaurant crawl,’ to highlight Maryland’s particularly peculiar political districts.
“This year, we wanted to go with the upbeat ‘Birthday Bash’ theme because a lot of folks felt let down by the Supreme Court on this issue,” said Ashley Oleson, Administrative Director of the League of Women Voters Maryland, referring to the Court’s failure to rule on the merits on Benisek v. Lamone, a case challenging the drawing of Maryland’s 6th congressional district. “But the reality is that the fight is still ours to win. Litigants in Benisek will continue fighting in the courts, just as we citizens must continue to fight and let our legislators know that we are tired of the rigged system of gerrymandering.”
Speakers included Walter Olson, co-chair of Gov. Hogan’s Maryland Redistricting Commission, 9-year-old activist Araliya Rubin, author of the coloring book “United Shapes of America,” Maryland’s 6th District played by activist Phil Ateto, and representatives from members of the Tame the Gerrymander Coalition. Participants took part in games such as “Pin the Legislator on the District,” ate birthday cake, and took their chances at the Elbridge Gerry Dunktank.
“We’re at a really pivotal time,” said Damon Effingham, Executive Director of Common Cause Maryland first-time Elbridge Gerry impersonator. “2020 is upon us, and it’s more vital than ever that we do everything we can to ensure that we have a fair redistricting system that works for all Marylanders. If we don’t beat this drum of reform now, we could be waiting until 2030. That’s unacceptable. Marylanders are tired of this system where politicians choose their voters, instead of the other way around.”
Tame the Gerrymander is a joint effort led by the League of Women Voters of Maryland, Common Cause Maryland, and Represent.Maryland.
Photos available at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmoQbogV
For more information:
The Tame the Gerrymander Coalition can be followed on Facebook (Tame the Gerrymander) or Twitter (@TameGerrymander). Information is also available at: https://www.lwvmd.org/tame_the_gerrymander
Ashley Oleson, LWVMD
[email protected] – 715-523-0748
Cristi Demnowicz, Represent.Maryland
Damon Effingham, Common Cause Maryland
[email protected] – 410-310-0737