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Reply #28: Editorial: Take politics out of redistricting (CA) [View All]

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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #6
28. Editorial: Take politics out of redistricting (CA)
Lost in the furious reaction to its referendum on same-sex marriage was the approval by California voters of a reform that Massachusetts and other states should emulate. By a small but sufficient margin, voters took control of legislative redistricting away from the politicians.

Redistricting is among government's most basic housekeeping duties, and, as usually practiced, one of the most political. Federal and state constitutions require that a census of all citizens be taken every 10 years and that state legislative districts and U.S. House of Representatives districts be redrawn to reflect changes in population.

From the beginning, politicians have drawn district lines to their own advantage. District maps drawn by Massachusetts Gov. Eldridge Gerry following the first post-Constitution Census provided a term still in use today. Computer programs have made it easier than ever to "gerrymander" districts, usually to protect incumbents and handicap the minority party.

Such gerrymandering results in legislatures that are more extreme and subject to political paralysis. When politicians pick the voters they'll represent rather than letting the voters pick the candidates, they create "safe seats" that discourage competition at the ballot box and bipartisanship in the legislature.

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