|On March 26th, 2019 the League of Women Voters and Common Cause hosted a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court. All around you could see countless national and local League members, all proudly wielding #FAIRMAPS signs, and all eager to have their voices heard. The energy levels were high and our voices rang loud with one clear message: Let’s end gerrymandering.|
Attending the rally was not just a duty as interns, but an opportunity to stand up for what is right. This issue should longer be shrugged off as politics as usual and outside of the purview of the Supreme Court. We MUST have a system that puts voters first, rather than one which rewards cunning politicians for becoming experts at political gamesmanship. We MUST not let another election go by in this nation under gerrymandered maps. The Supreme Court MUST make a sweeping declaration that gerrymandering is undemocratic and unconstitutional.
|The part of the rally that drew the most attention was of course the two big-name speakers; former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Governor Larry Hogan. These two spoke about the need for redistricting reform now. Schwarzenegger, the action-star declared, “We must terminate gerrymandering,” and hold the politicians who play with our election lines accountable. Gov. Hogan strongly echoed this sentiment and stated, “Look this is not a fight between the right and the left. This is a fight between right and wrong.”|
Every speaker at the rally was equally as passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated to the cause. Especially impressive were the two high schoolers who powerfully claimed their space on the stage. Josh LaFair, the creator of the gerrymandering board game “Mapmaker”, and Sarah Fishkind, a student leader with the March for Our Lives movement in Howard County, demonstrated the guts it takes to stand in front of over a hundred people and dozens of news cameras and speak out against injustice. Josh decried the manipulation of district lines in his state of Texas and shared his hopes that the justices would tell politicians, “Gerrymandering is NOT a Game.” Sarah spoke about the repercussions of gerrymandered districts on gun policy. This connection isn’t usually what comes to mind when one thinks about gerrymandering, but it gets to the heart of the matter. Sarah pointed out just how high the stakes can be when gerrymandering produces highly partisan districts in which constituents cannot hold their representatives accountable.
The rally on the steps of the Supreme Court radiated a deep sense of unity. There were people from Leagues around the country who had all traveled to D.C. to speak out for an issue that has been detrimental our nation’s core democratic principles. Those who spoke ranged from high profile politicians (both Republican and Democrat) to high school activists and each was met with an equal amount of respect and enthusiasm - is it too much to ask for representation that does the same?
Colleen Herrmann, UMD-College Park ‘21 & Nadia Monnier, Hood College ‘20
League of Women Voters Maryland 2019 Legislative Interns