Ending Gerrymandering Is Easy If Voters Are Up To The Challenge

Every 10 years, this nation conducts a census, a count of all people living in the 50 states. Immediately following the release of the results, the 435 members of the House of Representatives are reapportioned followed by the states redrawing both congressional and state legislative districts. The process used is one of the major reasons our government is broken.

Regardless whether the state legislature or an independent commission is used to draw the lines, the result is usually a zig zag that makes no sense, except to guarantee which of the two major political parties will control any given district in perpetuity. Equal representation based solely on population, which I believe was the intent of the founding fathers, has been replaced by representation based on political party affiliation and what the leaders of the two major political parties consider fair. If the process of governing is to be repaired, gerrymandering must end.

Redistricting must return to the original intent of Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and the changes made by the Fourteenth Amendment. It must return to equal representation of the population. Nowhere in the constitution has this been changed to equal representation based on political party. The actual process is not difficult. However, it will take willpower and courage on the part of the people.

Residents of a state already live in legally established areas that have existing boundaries. These are normally called a county, city, or town. The formula is simple: divide the population by the number of congressional or legislative districts and use the existing geo-political boundaries to come as close to the required number as possible.

For congressional districts, county boundaries should be used. For state legislative districts, city and town boundaries. The result will be approximately equal number of people being represented by each elected official, without regard to political party affiliation.

This is not a new concept. As part of its redistricting and gerrymandering course, the Columbia Law School has established DrawCongress.org, a program dedicated to studying non-partisan redistricting. Using existing geo-political boundaries is but one concept introduced, but it is the most practical and easiest to implement.

The two major political parties will not like this system because they will have to justify their actions and ideas to win elections. So-called “safe” districts, those so heavily leaning toward one party or the other, while not eliminated, should be greatly reduced. Power is never given up by those holding that power; it has to be taken away.

The Republicans and Democrats appear to have forgotten who controls the ballot box. It is not they, but the voters. It’s time the voters remind the two parties parties of this fact. 2020 is only six years away. Are voters up to the task? For the sake of our country’s future, let’s hope so.

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