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Panel discussion will look at gerrymandering at the state level

Recent high-profile cases of partisan gerrymandering have prompted debates on electoral politics and redistricting.

Thursday, April 12, from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m., in Room 310 of the Eppley Building, Creighton University will host a trio of Nebraska legislators and policymakers for a panel discussion titled “Does it Happen Here? The Status and Future of Partisan Gerrymandering in Nebraska,” with the panel discussing various perspectives on redistricting in Nebraska.

Panelists are as follows:

  • Sen. Sue Crawford, PhD, a Nebraska state senator from Bellevue and professor of political science, this legislative session introduced LB 973, which would have changed Nebraska’s processes for redrawing electoral districts.
  • John Else is the public policy director for the Nebraska League of Women Voters, an organization opposed to gerrymandering.
  • Sen. Bob Krist, of Omaha, has had a front-row seat to the redistricting process as his early years in the Unicameral were marked by the discussion over redrawing the state’s electoral boundaries.

The U.S. Supreme Court is presently considering two cases challenging partisan gerrymanders in Wisconsin and Maryland on constitutional grounds. A federal court in North Carolina has ruled state Republicans must redraw congressional districts, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck down the commonwealth’s districts as unlawful gerrymanders.

In 2018 in Nebraska, Republicans hold 31 out of 49 seats in the Unicameral, and bills have been introduced, unsuccessfully, to prevent state legislators from partisan gerrymandering.

At the national level, the 2012 general election witnessed Republicans win control of the House of Representatives, 234 to 201, despite 1.4 million more votes for Democratic candidates. A debate played out in the pages of the nation’s two most prominent newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, about whether redistricting helped the Republicans.

This panel discussion is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Creighton 2040 Initiative and the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program at Creighton.

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