Obama Announces Efforts to Fight Gerrymandering

Former President Barack Obama announced Monday an extension to the All On The Line campaign, an initiative to help volunteers influence redistricting efforts in states all across the U.S.

The extension, called Redistricting U, will send “trainers to cities to train volunteers, giving them the tools to impact the redistricting process in their state and empower them to be leaders in the movement for fair maps,” said a webpage for the new project, quoting the former president.

“The movement for fair maps will determine the course of progress on every issue we care about for the next decade. And we can’t wait to begin organizing when the redistricting process starts in 2021. We need to build this movement from the ground up – right now,” Obama also said, addressing an issue which has been a priority of his since 2008.

The campaign’s website explains that the organization of the effort is aimed at restoring fairness to the U.S. democracy and ensuring that every citizen “has an equal say in our government,” USA Today reports.

The All On The Line campaign originated earlier this year when Obama’s Organizing For Action merged with former Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Redistricting Action Fund into a new organization known as the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) which launched the campaign.

However, despite efforts by Obama and concerns among Democrats about gerrymandering, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that partisan election maps are constitutional despite their one-sided nature.

“How do you decide where the line is between acceptable partisanship and too much partisanship?” Chief Justice Roberts said at the time, adding that what the challengers were seeking to achieve – overturn maps drawn by Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina and Maryland respectively – represented “an unprecedented expansion of judicial power” that would have broad consequences.

A similar effort was introduced by the former first lady ahead of the 2018 midterm election. At the time, Michelle Obama launched her When We All Vote initiative and traveled to various cities pushing for increased voter turnout.

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