For years, FairVote has highlighted how our nation's reliance upon winner-take-all elections and single member districts for Congressional elections without national standards has left our voting process open to the abuses of unfair partisan gerrymandering. Insiders for decades have known how powerful redistricting can be for elected officials to protect friends and undermine opponents. It's a blood sport that both parties have exploited, thereby minimizing the role of voters in the political process. By gerrymandering the districts, legislators and their political cronies have used redistricting to choose their voters, before voters have had the opportunity to choose them.
For the historical development of redistricting, see All About Redistricting. For FairVote's solution to the gerrymandering problem, see the Fair Voting plan for the U.S. House.
FairVote Resources on Redistricting
The process of redistricting is highly partisan and often comes at the expense of voters. FairVote has developed a number of new resources regarding redistricting, including:
- Monopoly Politics 2014 and the Fair Voting Solution - FairVote's report including projections for every district in the country in the 2014 midterm House elections, in-depth analysis of the problems with American congressional elections as they are, and our 50-state plan for electing Congress under a fair representation voting system that could be enacted by Congress
- Redistricting Reform in the South - A report examining the impact that different redistricting criteria would have on partisan and racial representation in the South through the creation of sample maps
- Glossary - An A to Z guide to terms and definitions
- Litigation - A summary of ongoing lawsuits to redistricting plans and procedures throughout the country
- Reform Legislation - A report on proposed laws in all fifty states to improve redistricting processes
- Resource List - A guide and review of the best redistricting resources from around the web
- The limits of independent redistricting in California
- Additional Links - FairVote also contributes to Endgerrymandering.com and tweets current redistricting news
Redistricting encourages manipulation of our elections by allowing incumbent politicians to help partisan allies, hurt political enemies and choose their voters before the voters choose them. The current process is used as a means to further political goals by drawing boundaries to protect incumbents and reduce competition, rather than to ensure equal voting power and fair representation.
Solutions to the Redistricting Problem
FairVote encourages a number of short-term solutions such as national standards for transparency and public input, as well as replacing the partisan system with independent commissions at the state level. However, resolving the gerrymandering dilemma is only part of the problem. To achieve competitive elections, legislative diversity, and other public interest goals, fundamental change requires multimember districts with proportional voting. These reforms will help ensure all voters have choices and no strong prospective candidate is shut out of a chance to participate.
Read about other redistricting reform work and analysis from the EndGerrymandering.com coalition and the website of the former coalition Americans for Redistricting Reform.
Redistricting Blog Posts
October 16, 2015
The most recent scuffle over congressional redistricting in Virginia illustrates how poor a job single-winner districts do at achieving meaningful elections with fair results. With single-winner districts, we get results that may or may not be fair, may or may not be competitive, and result in a paradox under which they cannot be both fair and competitive.
August 8, 2014
Florida is facing an electoral quandary as two of its congressional districts have been found to violate the state constitution, and the legislature is redrawing the maps as November elections loom. The legislature does not want to use the new map in 2014, but FairVote's analysis outlines two plans that could resolve the crisis. The better of these plans would also improve the representation of Florida voters in the process.
July 11, 2014
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal in May signed a law establishing voting pre-registration for 16-year-olds. The law features an innovative "opt-out" approach to voter registration that will further boost registration and participation. Louisiana has a history of such innovative election policy.
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