VIDEO LINKS AND QUOTES from Today’s Media Briefing: The State of Redistricting in Nebraska and What’s at Stake in 2021

Earlier today, a panel of Nebraska redistricting experts briefed the media on the state of play in the current redistricting cycle. The panel discussed why it is crucial to have robust public engagement and ample opportunity for the public to weigh in on proposed maps. To date, the state legislature has released maps that divide communities, including Omaha, and continue the practice of gerrymandering that helps the politicians and hurts the voters. Tomorrow, September 14, the Nebraska state legislature will begin redistricting hearings on the proposed maps.  

In case you missed today’s media briefing, you can find the video link to the recording here and an audio recording here

Select quotes from the briefing are below.  

Regarding the importance of redistricting:  
“Redistricting is the most important voting and elections issue facing the state of Nebraska this year. The process will shape our elections and our community’s voting power for the next ten years and every single Nebraskan should have a chance to easily understand and participate in this important democratic process. The maps the legislature has released are extremely troubling and show exactly why we need a process driven by the voters, not the politicians,” said Gavin Geis, executive director of Common Cause Nebraska.

Regarding the importance of fair district maps: 
“Redistricting is a building block for a strong democracy. When done right it guarantees equal representation for all Americans, regardless of their color, race, religion, socio-economic status or their residential address. We support redistricting processes and enforceable standards that promote fair and effective representation at all levels of government with maximum opportunity for public participation. We are working to educate Nebraskans to the process of redistricting so they can be a part of it. We are urging the Redistricting Committee and our state senators to be transparent and to draw maps that serve the public and not partisan politics,” said Carol Dennison, social policy co-director, League of Women Voters of Nebraska. 

Regarding redistricting as a tool for community empowerment: 
Our democracy works best when everyone participates and everyone’s voice is heard. Redistricting should be about respecting the power of the people and ensuring every voter has an equal say on the issues we all care about. Nebraskans want fair and nonpartisan maps that protect all our voices and state senators should heed that call because this is about the will of the people, not politicians,” said Danielle Conrad, executive director, ACLU of Nebraska. 

Regarding the harmful practice of partisan and racial gerrymandering:
“Our democracy is strongest when every single one of us can have a say in the political decisions that affect our future—regardless of our political affiliation, the color of our skin, or where we live. For too long, Nebraska’s partisan legislators have drawn politically and racially gerrymandered maps that silence communities of color from having political influence on the major issues of the day. When we have a redistricting process driven by the politicians and not the community, the maps will be drawn to benefit the politicians, not the voters,” said Preston Love, Jr, founder, Black Votes Matter.