Cincinnati.Com: Court ruling throws 2012 elections into chaos

-by Howard Wilkinson

October 16, 2011- The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision to allow Democrats to go forward with a petition drive to stop the Republican congressional redistricting plan has thrown the 2012 congressional elections into chaos.

Candidates for Congress – incumbents and challengers, Republicans and Democrats – will have to sit on their hands for a while to see when they should file and if the districts they planned to file in will even exist.

It is not entirely clear yet, but it would appear now that congressional candidates will file petitions by the Dec. 7 deadline for districts that may no longer exist by the planned March 6 primary.

Or they could be forced to run in a statewide primary election for Ohio’s 16 U.S. House seats, where the top 16 Republicans face the top 16 finishing Democrats in the November 2012 election.

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The New Yorker: State for Sale

A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battlegrounds

-by Jane Mayer

October 10, 2011- In the spring of 2010, the conservative political strategist Ed Gillespie flew from Washington, D.C., to Raleigh, North Carolina, to spend a day laying the groundwork for REDMAP, a new project aimed at engineering a Republican takeover of state legislatures. Gillespie hoped to help his party get control of statehouses where congressional redistricting was pending, thereby leveraging victories in cheap local races into a means of shifting the balance of power in Washington. It was an ingenious plan, and Gillespie is a skilled tactician—he once ran the Republican National Committee—but REDMAP seemed like a long shot in North Carolina. Barack Obama carried the state in 2008 and remained popular. The Republicans hadn’t controlled both houses of the North Carolina General Assembly for more than a century. (“Not since General Sherman,” a state politico joked to me.) That day in Raleigh, though, Gillespie had lunch with an ideal ally: James Arthur (Art) Pope, the chairman and C.E.O. of Variety Wholesalers, a discount-store conglomerate. The Raleigh News and Observer had called Pope, a conservative multimillionaire, the Knight of the Right. The REDMAP project offered Pope a new way to spend his money.

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Washington Post: Op-Ed: The GOP is trying to rig the electoral college

-By Harold Meyerson

Like Poe’s purloined letter, the Republican plan to heist the 2012 presidential election sits before us in plain view. And going Poe one better, it is perfectly legal.

The first part of the strategy has been unfolding for months. Since the 2010 elections brought Republicans to power in numerous swing states, officials in many of those states have made it harder for minority, poor and young voters to cast their ballots. GOP governments have been curtailing early voting (in Ohio and Florida) and requiring voters to produce official photo-identification cards (in Wisconsin). In South Carolina, the poll tax lives again: Voters who want an official photo-ID card must present a passport or a birth certificate, neither of which can be obtained for free.

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My San Antonio: Feds find fault with 2 redistricting maps

Lawyers say proposals on state House and Congress violate Voting Rights Act standards.

-By Nolan Hicks

September 20, 2011- Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department said two of Texas' controversial redistricting maps didn't comply with the Voting Rights Act's minimum standards, finding that the proposed changes to state House and congressional districts failed to maintain or increase the ability of minorities to elect their candidates of choice.

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LA Progressive: Prison-Based Gerrymandering

-By Sharon Kyle

July 18, 2011- When the ACLU Pasadena Foothills Chapter joined forces with the NAACP, LA Progressive and a host of other Southern California social justice focused organizations to sponsor a talk by former ACLU attorney, Michelle Alexander, author of, New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness I asked Ms. Alexander to give the audience her condensed version of the prison-based gerrymandering phenomenon.

Characterizing it as a modern-day 3/5ths Compromise, Alexander explained that in most states census residence rules require that incarcerated people be counted at their place of incarceration as opposed to their home address.

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