The Navajo Nation and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opposed the inconsistent and confusing restrictions Arizona imposed on voting.  Yet this month, our highest court ruled Arizona can continue to require ballots to be returned only by a guardian or immediate family member.

And too bad if a ballot ends up in the wrong precinct because Arizona reassigns precincts most often in areas of high minority populations without notice and without public maps. Over 10,000 such ballots cast in the wrong precinct were thrown out in 2012’s election with no effort to move them to the voters’ actual precinct.  This is the fate for large numbers of Navajo people with no residential mail service, no polling places nor post office within hundreds of miles, and no reliable transportation.

In a blistering dissent against the majority ruling, Justice Elena Kagan was joined by Justices Breyer and Sotomayor.  “The Voting Rights Act of 1965...still has much to do… when too many states … are restricting access to voting in ways that will predictably deprive members of minority groups of equal access to the ballot box…that law, of all laws, should not be diminished by this court… “

It was also Justice Kagan who wrote the memorable dissent in 2019’s cases on partisan redistricting. The majority Supreme Court refused to do anything about partisan redistricting, as if states could take care of that themselves.  That forced withdrawal of Wisconsin’s Whitford case about our egregious gerrymandering. Kagan wrote, “Partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy…The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections.” 


Keep Our Communities Whole: Community Mapping Made Easy

Your community matters in redistricting. Your map matters. Take 15 minutes now for easy steps toward fair representation for a decade. “Keep Our Communities Whole: Community Mapping Made Simple” shows how to draw and submit your own Community of Interest map to the People’s Maps Commission of WI. The Commission needs over 1,000 maps from all around Wisconsin by the end of July. Legislative districts should be drawn to protect community interests, not for political gain. Your map matters. Democracy matters.


Compiled by Mary Kay Baum, WNPJ Board member

This week, July 11-17, the Wisconsin Fair Maps Coalition will host a MAP MAKING WEEK OF ACTION. This month marks your last chance to submit maps and written comments to the People’s Maps Commission (PMC) before the portal closes. Right now, there’s no better way to have your voice heard in the redistricting process than to submit a community map of your own!


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