AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — With a once-in-a-decade redistricting cycle underway, RepresentUs, the leading nonpartisan anti-corruption organization, is launching Gerry’s Partisan Pizza, a pizza shop that only serves residents of Texas’ new 37th congressional district–no matter how close you live to the store–as a simple illustration of how aggressive partisan gerrymandering works. Opening today, Gerry’s Partisan Pizza will be a three-day pop-up event from Friday, October 22nd to Sunday, October 24th, 5:00 pm CT-9:00 pm CT.
For residents of Texas’ new 37th congressional district, Gerry’s Partisan Pizza will offer free pizza at its brick-and-mortar location at The Backspace on 507 San Jacinto Blvd in Downtown Austin and deliver within a zone that exists exclusively within the district’s manipulated electoral boundaries–not one house further away. Customers that qualify for Gerry’s Partisan Pizza can choose from pizza types that include Mandered Margherita, Choosing Voters Cheese, and Politicians’ Pick Pepperoni, and will also receive information about how their right to vote is being suppressed and how they can fight back. This delicious activation comes as corrupt politicians nationwide are preparing to slice their districts to their political benefit, regardless of what voters want and brings awareness to how gerrymandering undermines our democracy.
“If you don’t like pizza places that hand-pick their customers, you are going to hate it when you hear about politicians hand-picking voters,” said Joshua Graham Lynn, President of RepresentUs. “By rigging the delivery zone of Gerry’s Partisan Pizza, RepresentUs is showing voters how politicians manipulate voting districts to rig elections — and giving voters a way to do something about it.”
To accompany the Texas pop-up, RepresentUs will also launch a two-week food truck tour starting October 27th that will travel to key states where the fight for fair maps is especially sharp, including North Carolina, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Gerry’s Partisan Pizza Truck will offer free pizza and information to Americans in gerrymandered districts to show how the practice limits voting rights across the country. The truck will make stops in Greensboro, NC, Raleigh, NC, Annapolis, MD, Tallahassee, FL, Orlando, FL, Harrisburg, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, Madison, WI, and Appleton, WI.
The new 37th U.S. House district in Austin is an example of an extreme packing gerrymander that concentrates Democrat voters into one area to reduce their influence and is part of an effort by Texas Republican lawmakers to preserve the power of GOP incumbents across the state. However, gerrymandering is a nationwide issue that threatens 70% of the country and nearly 188 million Americans. In addition to disenfranchising voters, gerrymandering also fosters political extremism by blocking competition in general elections and pushing it into the primary elections, creating an incentive for politicians to appeal to the most extreme factions of their voter base. Further, map-drawing technology and shifts in demography have made gerrymandering attempts increasingly difficult to detect just by looking at the shape of a map. Nearly 90% of voters across the political spectrum-Democrats and Republicans alike–oppose the practice.
Gerry‘s Partisan Pizza builds upon the critical work RepresentUs has done during the 2021 redistricting cycle to promote gerrymandering reform. The organization previously released a Gerrymandering Threat Index, a report that details the risk level for gerrymandering in each of the fifty states. They also partnered with the renowned Princeton Gerrymandering Project to launch the Redistricting Report Card, a detailed, interactive, one-of-a-kind tool that rates states on partisan fairness and previously undetectable gerrymandering attempts. The Redistricting Report Card graded Texas’ new congressional map an F. This work follows 126 statewide victories that RepresentUs has achieved since its founding for groundbreaking democracy reform, among them a major anti-gerrymandering victory in Virginia in 2020, which put the state’s forthcoming redistricting into the hands of a bipartisan citizen-led commission, and a historic win in 2018 that put an end to gerrymandered districts in the state of Michigan.
RepresentUs is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption organization, bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states to stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.
Dini von Mueffling Communications