Common Cause Maryland hosted a birthday party on Thursday for Elbridge Gerry, one of the first politicians to perfect the dark art of manipulating legislative lines for partisan purposes. It was the 240th birthday of Gerry, a former Vice President and Massachusetts governor who gained fame for signing into law oddly shaped districts meant to solidify his party’s majority in the legislature while he was governor. The Boston Gazette drew a political cartoon in 1812 comparing one of the districts to a salamander and naming the district a “gerrymander.”
Common Cause Maryland served birthday cake and ice cream to attendees. The cake featured a picture of the Tame the Gerrymander political cartoon contest winner. Attendees also were invited to assemble a jigsaw puzzle version of Maryland’s districts, a tough challenge in light of Maryland's status as one of the most gerrymandered states in America. A picture from the “birthday party” will be sent to Maryland’s legislative officials, urging them to reform the process and tame the gerrymander.
Plans are in the works for a “Gerrymander Meander,” a relay run around the Third Congressional District, during the weekend of September 19-21. The run will highlight the many problems with how Maryland districts are drawn.
Issues: Voting and Elections