Pro I thank my opponent for a lively and enjoyable debate; I hope to conclude this debate well! Gerrymandering allows officials to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency. Gerrymandering devalues opposition votes - there's simply no other way to put it. By controlling which districts hold which votes, the voting process can be manipulated so that while opposing party members may still place a vote, it is inherently worthless because the outcome has essentially been predetermined.
In addition to losing their Senate majority in dramatic fashion, the Democrats also saw the Republican margin of control in the House of Representatives grow from 33 seats to In the face of such an overwhelming victory, it seemed clear that the Republicans had won a resounding mandate from the American people.
However, a closer look reveals a much more troubling reality—in recent years, Republican majorities in state legislatures across the country have been using a tactic known as gerrymandering to tilt the political playing field in their favor.
Essentially, gerrymandering allows the majority party in any given state to redraw legislative district boundaries so that they are always able to control the most seats, even if they win fewer votes. For example, if the total votes cast in the U.
House elections are added together, the Democrats won about 1. State legislative election results are distorted as well. According to the National Conference of State Legislaturesin Republicans won more state legislative seats than Democrats nationwide. Yet in state after state, from Pennsylvania to Michigan to North Carolina, Democratic candidates actually won more total votes than their Republican opponents.
The Democrats are far from blameless, though.
From the s to the s, election results were often skewed in their favor, and many of the same disadvantages faced by Democratic candidates today were instead faced Republicans.
To this day, states like Illinois and Maryland are heavily gerrymandered to protect the Democratic majorities there. But whether regardless of which party is making use of gerrymandering, the question remains—how does it actually work? The answer lies in the way congressional and state legislative districts are drawn.
In most states, the state legislature is responsible for redistricting. Every ten years, state legislators go back to the drawing board after the results of the U.
Census are released, redrawing the districts from which legislators are elected. Redistricting is intended to let states adjust to demographic shifts and the reapportionment of congressional districts.
But allowing partisan legislators to redraw their own districts creates a clear conflict of interest, and historically the temptation to game the system has proven too great to resist for the majority party.
The Republican Party won a majority in most state legislatures after the midterms, and they immediately began cramming Democratic voters into as few districts as possible in order to make Republicans competitive in as many districts as possible.
Eight of the 10 most-gerrymandered congressional districts in the country were drawn by Republican legislatures, and while the Republican victory cannot be entirely chalked up to unfair redistricting, political scientists such as Larry J.
Sabato and Theodore Arrington have shown that gerrymandering certainly inflated the size of the Republican victory. Gerrymandering turned what otherwise may have been a minor loss for the Democrats into their worst defeat in 74 years.
One side effect of gerrymandering has been the creation of some truly bizarre congressional districts. Johns River, at one point narrowing to a width of barely a hundred feet in order to cross a bridge without diluting the solid republican majorities in the 3rd and 6th districts on either side.
Coloring Outside the Lines: Although President Obama won North Carolina by only 0.Gerrymandering is the redrawing of election district boundaries to give an electoral advantage to a particular candidate or party.
It has been recognized as a part of . Redistricting-Redistricting is the process of drawing United States electoral district boundaries, often in response to population changes determined by the results of the decennial census.
Packing-to concentrate as many voters of one type into a single electoral district . Gerrymandering is a problem; a Representative could have their voter base diluted across neighboring districts at the whim of the controlling party.
But Senate elections are statewide, and states.
These pieces not only discuss the issues surrounding this election reform, but also explore some of the history of PR in the U.S., its effects on gerrymandering, the representation of women and racial minorities, its policy implications, etc.
The most commonly proposed tactic for eliminating gerrymandering is the creation of an independent and objective commission to draw the boundaries of electoral districts rather than leave this task to the legislature; the United Kingdom and Australia have specially designated commissions for this purpose.
By the rules for representation in the Electoral College, each new state carried at least three electoral votes regardless of its population.  All redistricting in the United States has been contentious because it has been controlled by political parties vying for power.