Who is Elbridge Gerry?
Elbridge Gerry was the fifth Vice President of the United States. However, he was more well known for being the governor of Massachusetts and the namesake of gerrymandering. Back in 1812, Gerry's party was in power when Massachusetts was tasked with redrawing their election maps after the 1810 Census. When the maps hit Gerry's desk for approval, he noticed some oddly shaped districts that clearly gave his party an advantage. He even wrote to his son, saying they were "highly disagreeable." But alas, Gerry approved them anyways!
The Boston Gazette put these funny shaped districts on the front-page of their newspaper, overlaying a dragon-like salamander over one of the district outlines. They called this unfair district a "Gerry-mander," because it was drawn to give Gerry's party a leg up in the next decade of elections.
Why Celebrate Gerry's Birthday?
Gerry might have made a mistake back in 1812, but now he's trying to make amends! On his 274th birthday, all Gov Gerry wants is to end gerrymandering. That's why we're hosting "Very Gerry" birthday parties across the state of Michigan! You can find an upcoming event here.
Who is Voters Not Politicians?
Voters Not Politicians is a grassroots, citizen-led initiative working to end the problem of gerrymandering in Michigan, by creating a transparent process where voters are in charge of drawing election maps. Our solution will be on the November 6, 2018 ballot and will create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission that will be tasked with drawing a new set of fair and impartial election maps in 2022, 210 years after the original "Gerrymander!"