Redistricting is reviewed as Congress maps are drawn
RALEIGH, North Carolina — Once every ten years, the map of America turns into a board game.
“Which party has the most seats has the power of the pen. They draw the cards,” said Bill Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina.
What he’s talking about is redistricting — when states’ congressional districts are redrawn to reflect population gain or decline. Some states lose seats, others gain seats, all based on the census count.
In some states, a nonpartisan panel draws the districts, but in 39 states, lawmakers choose their own district boundaries.
“I think most people are stunned to hear that. And I hate to use that word. Our elections are rigged. We live in a democracy, but because of the way constituencies are drawn, we know who’s going to win. overall. ,” he said.
Common Cause is a non-partisan group whose mission is to protect fair elections. Something Phillips doesn’t believe can happen with the system configuration.
“Of the 435 congressional contests that will be held in November. Maybe 40 of them at most are actually competitive. It’s just not healthy,” he said.
You can see what he’s talking about by looking at the shapes in some of these neighborhoods. Take the new 17 from Illinoisanddistrict. We can all agree that this…as far as shapes go…is odd. People like Phillips say it looks that way because of the ruling party.
In this case, Democrats want to include as many Democratic voters as possible.
In Louisiana, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, despite being over an hour away, are in the same blue neighborhood in a sea of red. This pattern is repeated across the country in states where lawmakers map out the maps.
“Voting and redistricting is part of the game of chess. So what happens is you have a group, a party that’s looking to stack the chips, or it’s looking to dilute the vote of others and it seeks to pull lies in their favor,” said policy and legal analyst Eric Claville.
The practice of drawing lines in favor of political parties is called gerrymandering. Claville and Philips say gerrymandering has been one of the many ways politicians have tried to silence the voices of disenfranchised groups, like African Americans.
“We still see redistricting being done that will often be discriminatory to black voters, and by that I mean districts being drawn that might wrap black voters or crack, and that dilutes the actual vote of an African American voter. “, said Phillips.
Ohio, New York, Mississippi, Texas, and North Carolina are some of the states with ongoing contentious card battles. Political parties sue over maps drawn by opposing parties.
“To protect the rights of all, to be able to vote and not just be able to vote, but also to vote in fair, equitable and empowering ridings and not in ridings that are going to disempower the voter,” Claville said.
Learning about this issue can make voters powerless. Lawyers say that is not the case. If you are concerned about these practices, you still have a voice and you can use it to rally change for non-partisan redistricting practices.
“No matter how much money is spent, no matter what happens in the media, it comes down to this one thing: one person, one vote. So if you could get involved, if you could muster a mass of votes , then you have the power to dictate the conversation and ultimately the outcome,” Claville said.