2021-07-08 Happy Hour Agenda - Show Your Work


Show Your Work

PURPOSE: Everyone writes one LTE, submits to a targeted newspaper.


  1. Welcome and introductions of members! - 10 mins

  2. Why do we write LTEs?

  3. Report on recent letters : I have record of 25 letters published since we began; 10 in the past four weeks.

  4. Announcement of new roles: Submitters and Writers (and Amplifiers)

  5. Focus of this Meeting to “Show Your Work” - 10 mins

    1. presentation - Karen McCown of FDGA Mapping & Analysis

    2. Attend legislative Town Hall hearings

    3. Ask your legislator for a transparent, publicly-accountable redistricting process

    4. target newspapers: legislators in reapportionment committee, split cities, and majority-minority districts

    5. Newspaper assignments: newspaper assignments :

  6. How to write an LTE that will get published and be effective - 10 mins:

    1. Tips here

    2. Include legislator’s name if local or otherwise appropriate. Legislators scan the news for mentions of themselves.

    3. No partisanship-bating. This is a turn-off for the readers we want to influence. The voice of a practical person with some reason will reach the largest audience.

  7. Letter-writing! 40 minutes: Karen McCown, of FDGA Mapping & Analysis team

    1. Karen’s presentation (download)

    2. What are we asking for?

      1. Attend the Town Hall hearings of the Joint House and Senate Reapportionment and Redistricting Committees held across the state to solicit public input for the 2021 electoral maps to be drawn for Congress, the state Senate, and state House.  Schedule and information here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/house and https://www.legis.ga.gov/senate

      2. Call your state Senator and Representative to ask for a transparent, publicly-accountable redistricting process

    3. What are the talking points of our letter?

      1. In Georgia, redistricting remains under the control of the state legislature, which allows politicians to draw their own districts and choose their own constituents with little public oversight.

      2. The Georgia General Assembly conducts the redistricting process largely in secret. The majority party is in control and has little obligation to share information with the public.  Usually, proposed maps are published shortly before they are approved, leaving almost no time for public comment. 

      3. Modern computer technology allows maps to be subtly manipulated, avoiding the obviously contorted district shapes that signified gerrymandering in the past.  Gerrymandered districts have become more difficult to detect without statistical analysis.

      4. The General Assembly must eliminate the secrecy surrounding the work of legislators and their staff and do the work of redistricting in full view of the public.

      5. Legislators should require full, timely disclosure of all data, algorithms, maps, and mapping shape files in time for public review and comment, well in advance of legislative votes.

      6. While advances in technology have made gerrymandering more precise and less obvious, the same software and data used by legislators is now widely available to the public.   Fair Districts GA has partnered with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project to provide statistical benchmarks for partisan balance and minority representation.  Legislators should commit to meeting these nonpartisan, independent benchmarks when drawing new electoral maps.

      7. These principles should not be difficult to adopt. No politician can reasonably argue that secrecy is better than transparency and that the conflicts of interest inherent in the existing process don’t matter.  Legislators in the General Assembly owe the voters of Georgia a fair redistricting process and result.

    4. Example Letters: Example letters

      1. use these as a starting point, updating as necessary.


  File Modified

PDF File June 21 Town Hall Excerpt 202010708.pdf

Jul 08, 2021 by Julia Leon