What is Gerrymandering? Is it Illegal?
Last week there was a slimmed-down voting rights bill that failed in the Senate. This was expected to happen, as there was no Republican support.
However, there are other things going on right now in our backyards that could heavily impact who gets elected. Now we aren’t talking about the presidential election, but instead , the elections that will determine your state and Congress representatives. This major event is known as redistricting, and will be done before the 2022 midterms.
If you google the district map for the United States 117th congress, you will see squares, which are the representatives. Every ten years, those district lines that you see get redrawn. This happens after the new census is released. The reason for that is because of our system, which runs off of the idea of representation based on population.
This is the process that is happening currently, and state legislators and governors are usually responsible for redrawing these lines. However, there are those who have delegated the responsibilities to local commissions. Each state has a different method of getting these lines drawn.
One thing that you should be aware of when it comes to redistricting is gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is something that has been around for a very long time, and is the redrawing of district lines to increase one party’s power over the other. This practice is considered to be legal by the Supreme Court.
Under the ideals of our founding fathers, representation would be based on population and would be proportional. In other words, in a fairly-drawn district, there would happen to be more Republicans than Democrats, so Republicans would have a larger amount of the representation, or vice versa if there were more Democrats in the district.
Gerrymandering, again, is the drawing of the lines to give one party an unfair political advantage over the other. This would mean that the district is drawn in a way that specifically aims to increase the number of residents supporting one party, or exclude a group that supports the opposite party. Often times we have seen districts that look like circles rather than squares. The term gerrymandering actually got its name when there was a district drawn that strongly resembled a salamander.
If the practice of gerrymandering is something that you don’t feel is right, you can make your voice heard. Get involved and try to interact with your state legislators or your local representatives. There are multiple ways that you can make your views clear.