redistricting process in this country is almost completely determined
political considerations. The result is legislative districts
splinter communities and pack together members of each party,
predetermining the outcome of the general election. Powerful
technology now allows partisans to totally control the
political composition of districts. And in recent years we
have seen some
states engage in mid-census redistricting with the explicit purpose of
benefiting the party in power.
may help selected incumbents, but it lowers voter turnout across the
therefore cuts the overall number of progressives likely to be elected
leaders can help
restore responsiveness and accountability to government by supporting
independent redistricting commissions established with a strong mandate
compose districts that serve the people and not politicians. This is a
has even garnered the
support of the American Bar Association.
Fostering fair redistricting requires carefully constructing the
commission and establishing rules such as requiring supermajority
balancing membership between partisans and unaffiliated members.
Cause has produced a comprehensive set of guidelines
for establishing effective commissions. Another important
banning mid-census redistricting.
Several states have redistricting procedures that are independent of
legislators, and some have seen redistricting reforms advance in the
Iowa uniquely has legislative
staff draft districts under a list of statutory mandates that
seek to make the process apolitical. The state has enjoyed a
high percentage of competitive elections compared with the national
approved a move to independent redistricting in 2000. Their
system picks commission members from a pool nominated by a
pre-existing body that handles appellate court appointments.
The district map is mandated to begin as a grid, and to be
adjusted to meet certain requirements such as compliance with the
Voting Rights Act, equal populations, and compact and contiguous
Florida and Ohio have all seen recent drives to establish independent
redistricting as well.