The daughter of late GOP gerrymandering mastermind just put all of his files online in a Google Drive for anyone to read.
Thomas Hofeller, who died in 2018, was crucial to the Republican Party’s redistricting efforts across the country: He drew up tons of maps that the party used to make districts easier for them to win — sometimes at the expense of minorities’ voting rights. In an effort to defend their state’s political map in a lawsuit, Republicans had tried to keep Hofeller’s files secret.
But on Sunday, his daughter, Stephanie, who identifies as an anarchist, tweeted them out. She’d announced her plans to release the files last month and has now made them public on a website: thehofellerfiles.com, which links to a Google drive full of his emails and documents related to his gerrymandering work. (Thomas pronounced the word “gerrymander” with a hard “G,” in honor of the former U.S. Vice President Elbridge Gerry, who pioneered the practice in Massachusetts in 1812.)
“These are matters that concern the people and their franchise and their access to resources. This is, therefore, the property of the people,” Stephanie told NPR. “I won’t be satisfied that we the people have found everything until we the people have had a look at it in its entirety.”
It’s not clear yet what new information the files contain — many of Hofeller’s files have already been made public through court filings and news reports. Another document Stephanie previously released upended a Supreme Court fight surrounding the Trump administration’s move to add a citizenship question to the Census.
The administration’s official explanation was that the question would be used to enforce the Voting Rights Act, but one of Hoefeller’s unpublished studies from 2015 found that said that adding the question “would be advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”
Based on that discrepancy in rationale, the justices blocked the Trump administration from including the question, and the Census Bureau announced in August that it wouldn’t ask about citizenship status in 2020.