24 January, 2021

Prepare activists to demand fair redistricting in virtual Town Halls

icon activists,gerrymandered districts,On-screen teleprompters,Redistricting,Redistricting Resources,Teleprompter,townhalls,Zoom Teleprompter
The BigStage Teleprompter prepares your supporters with questions and talking points in a virtual Town Hall meeting.

Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to draw voting maps to stay in office. Let voters choose their politicians, not politicians choosing their voters. 

Public hearings give activists an opportunity to demand fair voting district boundaries. Make sure they're ready with the facts in a form that's easy-to-read when they make their case in virtual hearings. Give them a free teleprompter app loaded with talking points and questions.

Fight gerrymandering

"In America, elections are supposed to represent the will of the people, not politicians. But partisan politicians manipulate voting maps to keep themselves and their party in power. We need to reform the rules and make the process of drawing districts impartial and transparent so our government is of, by, and for the people. Every ten years, states re-draw the boundaries of congressional and legislative districts. Redistricting is supposed to reflect changes in population and ensure that everyone is fairly represented. But politicians draw districts to give themselves or their party an unfair advantage." - Common Cause

Political dirty tricks

Republican operatives began plotting their comeback after President Obama's election in 2008. Republican political operatives Karl RoveEd Gillespie and Chris Jankowski devised REDMAP, a scheme to manipulate redistricting in order to gain control of Congress using political dirty tricks called "ratf**king".

Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn't Count", a book by David Daley on how America's electoral map has been distorted causing and political polarization.

Organizers create a link with the script for their supporters to use during a virtual town hall. This link is shared through social media with supporters.

On-screen teleprompters

Professionals who present on camera use teleprompters to keep eye contact with their viewers by reading from a scrolling script. Teleprompters used to be large and expensive, but now apps provide the same functionality for free on phones and laptops.

Town halls and other forums for the public to provide feedback to officials have moved online with COVID-19 which makes it even more important to present well online. BigStage Teleprompter is a free onscreen teleprompter app that works on both phones, tablets and laptops. Voting rights groups can load the free teleprompter app with talking points on fair redistricting and share it as a link with other activists so they are ready for public hearings.

Talking points and questions for voters to ask about redistricting are loaded into the BigStage Teleprompter.

Clicking on this link will launch the teleprompter. Hit SCROLL to have the script scroll. Adjust the size of the teleprompter window so you can see it and the ZOOM window at the same time on your laptop screen. Adjust the font size and scroll speed to your preference.

The BigStage Teleprompter is preloaded with talking points and shared as a link.
BigStage Teleprompter with redistricting script on a laptop
The BigStage Teleprompter is loaded with the questions to ask in a townhall. The teleprompter can be used from a laptop or smartphone.
BigStage Teleprompter on a phone

Free teleprompter app

Activists who get the free BigStage Teleprompter app with redistricting related talking points can also re-use it for other Zoom events by replacing the redistricting script with their own script. These case studies highlight different teleprompter use cases:
Managing a ZOOM event with several presenters? Use an on-screen teleprompter to keep things on track.
Stick to your script. Use an on-screen teleprompter.
Zoom performance anxiety? Follow these expert tips.
Communicate better on ZOOM. Keep eye contact with an on-screen teleprompter.

Redistricting resources

Redistricting Online - a nonpartisan resource for every aspect redistricting in the U.S. The law, technology, and practice of redistricting is constantly evolving. Here you can learn the basicsexplore advanced topicskeep up with the news, and monitor redistricting developments in all 50 states.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Redistricting Q&A - works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. 
League of Women Voters (Redistricting Action Kit) - nonpartisan, activist, grassroots organization that believes voters should play a critical role in democracy.
Common Cause - "Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to draw voting maps that benefit themselves. We need to change the rules and create a fair system so that voters are choosing the politicians, instead of politicians choosing their voters." Nonprofit groups fighting for a census in which every person is counted and a process for drawing district boundaries that puts our communities, and not the needs of politicians, first.
Activist Handbook on Redistricting Reform - Common Cause
Why Redistricting Matters - Power Coalition
Public Input & Redistricting - NCSL

Virtual town halls for public input on redistricting maps

"As the public has become increasingly attentive to the redistricting process, states have begun to incorporate opportunities for public input into their redistricting laws. Although roles for citizen engagement in redistricting are more prevalent and often more robust in states that have vested their redistricting authority in independent commissions" - NCSL. Here are two redistricting virtual town halls:.
Redistricting town hall - Calhoun, Georgia
Virtual town hall on redistricting - Austin
Redistricting takes place every ten years with long term consequences. Be involved in the public feed process to demand district maps be drawn fairly.

Political operatives use redistricting to gerrymander districts to deny voters their voice.

Takeaway: Think long term. Voter suppression starts by drawing voting maps where politicians choose their voters so they can never be voted out. Make sure your vote matters by demanding fair voting maps where voters get to choose their politicians. Be prepared for public hearings on district maps with your talking points and a teleprompter.


Image credit: Hatice EROL on Pixabay

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