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Redrawing the Political Map: Gerrymandering Fights Set the Stage for 2019 and Beyond


Redrawing the Political Map: Gerrymandering Fights Set the Stage for 2019 and Beyond

Ruth Conniff

Nowhere has the Republican plan to hang onto power at all costs expressed itself more fully than in North Carolina and Wisconsin.

In both states, Democratic governors won competitive statewide elections, only to see their powers stripped away by Republicans who control the state legislatures.


Waddayaknow, New Jersey liberals stood up for principle against our own Democrats:

I had no idea, living in one of the worst examples of gerrymandering in the state, a district that stretches dumbbell shape across the top of the state and just managed to re-elect its first pseudo-Democrat in decades. Here I was, hoping for the Redistricting to sneak through this year, since a constitutional amendment has to be passed by the legislature in two calendar years to go on the ballot for citizen ratification. Oh well, probably better late and truly Democratic.


Hm, isn’t there another scenario, in which the Republican legislature overrides the Governor’s veto? Just asking…


A tip o’ the hat to bkswrites, above, for beating me to this, but here’s more anyway.

Ms. Conniff writes:

In New Jersey, a Democratic scheme to ram through partisan redistricting has drawn vocal opposition from the ACLU, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the League of Women Voters.

Here is an article on how the proposal was tabled three days ago.

Proposals for bipartisan redistricting almost always put the hyperpartisan “usual suspects” in charge of it. In the case of NJ, the proposal would have put " the state’s legislative leaders (senate president, assembly speaker, senate minority leader, and assembly minority leader)" on the redistricting committee. We need nonpartisan redistricting if we’re ever going to get better (Green!) government.


In 2015, Ohio voters passed an initiative to reorganize their state’s redistricting procedures.

The relevant constitutional article, as it would have been amended, was quite long, so the initiative on the ballot summarized the change into four single sentence bullet points of the lofty rhetoric style.

My favorite bullet point is this one:

The proposed amendment would:_

End the partisan process for drawing Ohio House and Senate districts, and replace it with a bipartisan process with the goal of having district boundaries that are more compact and politically competitive.

Notice that the proposal would supposedly “end the partisan process” and “replace it with a bipartisan process” - so the duopoly gets carved in constitutional stone! No third parties allowed!

(The ballot initiative was withdrawn after the legislature passed and voters approved the Congressional Redistricting Procedures Amendment on May 8, 2018.)


Honest districting, especially in the age of computers, is an easy thing that can be done with algorithms that would be publicly verifiable and controlled by non-partisan entities, such as a professional election commission or a subsidiary of the courts.

First, the number of districts should be allocated to each state per the the Constitution. Right now each district would have a population of roughly 750,000 (326M/435). It wouldn’t be a bad thing to increase the number of reps.

Then the computer people would divide up the state in compact and contiguous districts starting in one corner, using census districts. Throw out all the crap about trying to guarantee districts by race etc. That has only resulted in ethnic minorities squeezed into racial supermajority districts that guarantee some seats, but usually fewer than they would get with fair apportionment. Segregation just don’t work. Separate is never equal.

One adult/one vote has to be the principle. The same should be done in municipalities and county councils etc. And the Senate must be phased out and Electoral Collegeshut down since they are inherently anti-democratic.

One adult/one vote in relatively equal-size districts. That’s it. Then you have public financing of campaigns, things like rank-choice voting or whatever works fairly.

There’ll be problems, but this kind of scheme yields transparency. And all parties/candidates would be bound by the same rules.

Oh, never mind. This will be called too complex, even though it isn’t.


Protect Mueller. After that voting reform has to be on the top of the agenda or it won’t get done, again.


Approval voting is a simpler and reliable method. See Nationalrenewal.org and electology.org.