Legislative Redistricting Committee Now Meeting
The Nebraska Legislature’s Redistricting Committee met on May 18 to set the rules that will govern redistricting in the fall.
At a hearing that preceded the executive session vote, Sheri St. Clair, LWVNE Fair Maps director, testified. She urged the committee to “think about what’s best for the voter, not the politician.”
The Lincoln Journal Star reported that “during an executive session filled with tension, the committee Tuesday removed a guideline it had accepted earlier to attempt to preserve the core of current legislative districts in reaching its redistricting decisions.”
An amendment to change the deviation for non-Congressional districts from 10% to 8% of population also was defeated.
The resolution will move to the floor of the Unicameral for a vote.
Watch Meant to Represent:
Redistricting - Putting your Vote on the Map!
This LWVGO Dine & Discuss features Carol Dennison, Rachel Gibson and Sheri St. Clair of the LWVNE Fair Maps Committee discussing redistricting and District R mapping for communities of interest. Redistricting in Nebraska will take place at the end of the summer/early fall and will led by a Special Committee of the Nebraska Legislature, voted on by the full Nebraska Legislature and then approved by the Governor. The Special Committee will have some public hearings during this process. To prepare, the League encourages communities of interest to try using District R to draw their own maps. We hope Nebraskans will be ready to testify at public hearings on redistricting. Contact fairmaps@lwvnebraska .org if your community group is interested in a redistricting presentation and/or a session drawing redistricting maps using District R.
LWVNE Redistricting Poetry Contest Winners
First Place Winner
Grace Darling Eastin
Grace “Gray” Eastin is a junior at Sutton Public Schools in Sutton, NE. With a love for writing, theater and the arts, Gray is inspired by the beauty of the world. Truth and positive change are what drive this passionate 17-year-old. Gray plans to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. Gray lives in Clay Center, NE, with Mom (Amanda), Grandma (Laurie) and pet bird (Deku).
Pat McEvoy is a poet and teacher based in Omaha, NE. He has represented the city at multiple national poetry slam championships and performed on many stages throughout the Midwest. He is a core teaching artist for the Nebraska Writers Collective working on programs such Louder Than a Bomb: Great Plains, Poets on Loan and Writers Block and has been tagged to lead a new public arts initiative.
Why Redistricting Reform?
- Gerrymandering is undemocratic and goes against Nebraska’s traditions of nonpartisanship and fair play.
- When districts are gerrymandered, our elected representatives have been allowed to choose their voters instead of the voters choosing them.
- When Nebraskans are included in the process of drawing new election district maps, their fundamental right to choose who represents them is preserved. Voters believe their vote makes a difference.
- When maps are drawn without political bias they represent minority groups more fairly.
Redistricting Show Discusses Possible Outcomes of Nebraska Redistricting
MaryLee Moulton discusses redistricting in Nebraska based on the 2020 Census with David Drozd of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Sheri St. Clair of the League of Women Voters of Nebraska. Drozd is a research coordinator for UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research. St. Clair is the LWVNE government director.
How to Use 2020 Census Data
The Nonprofit Association of the Midlands (NAM) welcomes Brad Christian-Sallis of Civic Nebraska and Gavin Geis of Common Cause Nebraska to discuss the census and redistricting.
Redistricting in 2021 Unicameral
Executive Committee of Legislature Names Members of
The Executive Committee of the Nebraska Legislature named the members of the Redistricting Committee on Wednesday: Sens. Carol Blood of Bellevue; Suzanne Geist and Adam Morfeld, both of Lincoln; Steve Lathrop and Justin Wayne, both of Omaha; Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn; Tom Brewer of Gordon; Tom Briese of Albion; and John Lowe of Kearney.
Senator McCollister Introduces Redistricting Bill
Senator McCollister introduced LB 107 – Adopt the Redistricting Act.
The purpose of the Redistricting Act is to establish procedures to divide the state of Nebraska into districts by designating boundary lines based on population for the election or appointment of representatives from Nebraska to the U.S. House of Representatives; judges of the state Supreme Court; and members of the Legislature, the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, the Public Service Commission and the State Board of Education. The districts shall be established by maps incorporated by reference into legislation enacted by the Legislature.
The bill will be heard in the Executive Committee.
Building Off Redistricting Efforts in 2020
A Closer Look at LB 1207
The LWVNE supported LB 1207, a bill introduced in 2020 by Senator McCollister that would have created substantive and procedural guidelines to be followed by the Redistricting Committee and Legislature in the redistricting process following the decennial U.S. Census.
According to the committee statement: LB 1207 Executive Board Committee. The stated purpose of this Redistricting Act was to establish the procedures to divide the state into districts by designating boundary lines based on population. Maps would have been required to be drawn using politically neutral criteria, including:
- Equality of population – plus or minus a 1% or less deviation;
- Contiguous districts;
- No consideration of political affiliation;
- No consideration of previous voting data or election results;
- Data and demographic information only from the Census Bureau; and
- Deference to county and municipal boundary lines.
LB 1207 was indefinitely postponed on Aug. 13, 2020.
Nebraskans for Independent Redistricting (NIR) proposed a ballot initiative that would have prohibited the manipulation of voting districts — the process known as gerrymandering — through an independent redistricting committee.
The campaign was focused on empowering citizens and ending backroom deals so people choose their politicians — not the other way around. With the broad coalition leading the campaign and support from Nebraska voters who want this reform, the NIR was confident that we would qualify for the Nov. 3, 2020, ballot and, once qualified, that we would win.
Then the pandemic hit. Although NIR and the partner organizations worked to explore options to move the effort forward, we were not able to run a traditional signature drive required for ballot initiatives due to public health concerns.
But, the campaign does not stop here. The 2021 legislative session will present another opportunity to shape the rules and the process to increase transparency and end partisan gerrymandering. If need be, Nebraskans for Independent Redistricting will be prepared to take redistricting reform to voters again.
Gavin Geis Previews Redistricting in the Unicameral
This Lunch & Learn Zoom presentation sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Lincoln-Lancaster County features Gavin Geis of Common Cause Nebraska discussing redistricting in the upcoming 2021 Nebraska legislative session.
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