Gerrymandering, the process by which political district lines are drawn by the very politicians who stand to benefit by them, affects the fabric of our democracy in profound ways. Technology has made gerrymandering such an exact science that, in most cases, incumbents cannot lose and challengers cannot win.
In the fall of 2013, a group of citizens of all political persuasions and from all walks of life came together to seek reform of the redistricting process in Virginia. From that meeting, a new coalition emerged to end gerrymandering. Now called OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, the organization brings together Virginians who believe that state and congressional districts belong to the citizens of the Commonwealth, and not to any legislator, political party, or special interest. The coalition focuses on creating a fair process that includes an amendment to the Virginia Constitution establishing an impartial commission – independent of the General Assembly – to draw legislative district lines. The commission would use objective, nonpartisan criteria, invite public participation and be fully transparent.
The multi-Emmy award-winning team of the Community Idea Stations and OneVirginia2021 joined forces to produce a statewide public television documentary, GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy On Its Head. This one-hour documentary examines the impact of gerrymandering, and the non-partisan reform efforts now under way in Virginia and elsewhere that can change this dangerous trend and return political power to the voters. The documentary features Republican and Democratic leaders including Governor Terry McAuliffe (D), Governor Larry Hogan (R), Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D), Governor John Kasich (R) and Former Governor George Allen (R).
Watch GerryRIGGED: Turning Democracy On Its Head on Monday, October 24 at 9:00 p.m. on WCVE PBS / WHTJ PBS.