Independent Redistricting Commissions Could Help Bring Fairness to Our Political Process
Gerrymandering is the practice of manipulating the boundaries of electoral districts to favor one political party or group over another. This practice has been used for centuries, but in recent years, it has become a major concern in the United States, where it is often used to suppress the votes of certain communities and undermine the democratic process. In this blog post, we will explore the dangers and inequalities of gerrymandering and how independent redistricting commissions could help bring more fairness to our political process.
The Dangers of Gerrymandering
The main danger of gerrymandering is that it undermines the principle of one person, one vote. When electoral districts are drawn to favor one party or group over another, the votes of some citizens become less important than the votes of others. This can lead to a situation where a minority of voters can control the outcome of an election, which is not only undemocratic but also unfair. Gerrymandering can also lead to the election of extreme candidates who do not represent the views of the majority of citizens.
In addition, gerrymandering can create a situation where politicians are more interested in pleasing their party base than serving the needs of their constituents. This can lead to gridlock and polarization in government, as politicians become more focused on maintaining their power than on finding common ground with their opponents.
The Inequalities of Gerrymandering
One of the most significant inequalities of gerrymandering is its impact on communities of color. In many cases, gerrymandering is used to dilute the voting power of minority communities by splitting them across multiple electoral districts. This makes it harder for these communities to elect candidates who represent their interests, and it can also result in a situation where politicians do not take their needs into account when making policy decisions.
According to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, gerrymandering has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. The report found that "the most extreme partisan gerrymanders have systematically marginalized communities of color by diluting their political power and limiting their ability to elect representatives who reflect their values and concerns."
How Independent Redistricting Commissions Can Help
One way to address the dangers and inequalities of gerrymandering is to create independent redistricting commissions. These commissions are made up of non-partisan experts who are responsible for drawing electoral district boundaries. By taking the power to draw district lines away from politicians, independent redistricting commissions can help ensure that electoral districts are drawn fairly and with the interests of all citizens in mind.
Several states have already implemented independent redistricting commissions, including California, Arizona, and Michigan. These states have seen a significant increase in the competitiveness of their electoral districts, which has led to more moderate candidates being elected to office. According to a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, "the creation of independent redistricting commissions is one of the most significant reforms that states can adopt to improve the integrity of their election processes."
Gerrymandering is a significant threat to our democracy and the principle of one person, one vote. By creating independent redistricting commissions, we can help ensure that our electoral districts are drawn fairly and with the interests of all citizens in mind. As more states adopt this reform, we can hope to see a more fair and democratic political process in North Carolina.
- Brennan Center for Justice. (2020). Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering and the Future of American Democracy. https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/202