Every citizen of the United States has the right to be represented in both their state and federal governments by a representative chosen in a free and fair election. In a free and fair and election, each and every vote is equal. By definition a gerrymandered election is unfair because it favors one group of citizens over another. In a gerrymandered district, one’s vote may count for nothing, one party’s vote may count for nothing. In a gerrymandered state, the majority of residents’ votes may count for nothing. In gerrymandered states, many of the state’s residents are being deprived of their right to representation at both the state and federal level.
In states with gerrymandered districts, the members of the state’s legislature are not representative of the majority of the residents of that state. In states with gerrymandered districts, the state’s delegation of representatives to the US House of Representatives is almost certainly not representative of the majority of the residents of that state. In gerrymandered states, only the residents’ votes for US Senators and US Presidents are immune the distortion in representation caused by the gerrymandering.
State Legislatures write and pass laws that apply to any and every one in the state. If the state is gerrymandered, these laws are being imposed on those denied representation by this gerrymandering; are likely being written by representatives elected by a minority of the voters in the state. The US House of Representatives writes and passes laws that apply to any and all persons in the US. These federal laws, too, are being imposed on those denied representation by gerrymandering.
State and federal legislatures allocate government funds to state and federal districts within a state. This allows state and federal representatives to ‘bring home the bacon’. In gerrymandered states, the bacon is more likely to go to the district(s) that voted for the elected representative than those that didn’t. The spoils of gerrymandering go to those who did the gerrymandering.
In state after state, we see gerrymandered state legislatures override voter approved initiatives and referendums; deny the will of the people. At the Federal level, we see popular legislation voted down because of gerrymandering at the state level; the will of the majority of the people being denied.
For all intents and purposes, in gerrymandered districts, the minority’s votes don’t count; they are being denied their right to vote, their right to representation. Gerrymandering is voter suppression. Gerrymandering is most undemocratic. Gerrymandering is not playing fair.
This is all theory. And most people (like me) have a disdain for theory. So has anybody done a full synopsis of each state’s gerrymandering? That would be a great step in the right direction. I mean exactly how the gerrymandering was done and the present results. Then people could see what we mean.
@andre, there is a bunch of literature on how gerrymandering is done. Way back in 2012 (how is that so long ago?) I wrote a blog post that gave a bit of broad countrywide context.
We do accept guest posts.
Gerrymandering is a problem, but not anywhere near as severe a problem as the Senate bias. But Gerrymandering is a problem with two easily identifiable causes:
1. The election is in the control of a partisan body
2. The election does not use proportional representation of any type.
Of these 1 is the perhaps the more serious. I can only surmise that the original founders really thought they would have a party less system and so individually rivalries would stop the sort of cheating we see. Where I am in Germany such cheating is very difficult, because no party gets currently more than 30% of the vote and none of the parties has a close affinity to any other, so any body that the parties regard as independent will in fact be independent. But Germany has proportional representation.
Basically in America – in many aspects of America – your biggest problem is that the referees are biased. You need to see it that way. Not just in individual aspects. Your institutions are broken.
Do voters in a district have a representational interest in the winning candidates of districts other than their own? With quite small third parties, no matter how districts are arranged, it’s a trivial exercise to see that the majority of voters always vote for the winner, whether in a specific district or in aggregate over a set of districts. “Anti-gerrymandering” plans always drive the hypothetical aggregate percentage of votes for losing candidates higher. Maybe that would be good, but you need to make a better argument than winning elected official bring their districts benefits, since any district is always going to have a winner.
Try not to talk.
The most common approach to gerrymandering in the South is to draw boundaries that isolate minority voters from white votes insomuch as possible. The effect is a few districts with minority majorities vote for Democrats and most of the rest vote for Republicans. I share the same affinities for low country life style that populate my district with a black majority and a redneck white minority.
The result of redistricting in 2016 spread our minority vote enough to give the Democratic Party another district in the US Congress.
Virginia’s 3rd congressional district – Wikipedia
This image shows the 2016 court-ordered VA Congressional districts.
The Virginia Legislature’s 2012 redistricting was found unconstitutional and replaced with a court-ordered redistricting on January 16, 2016 for the 2016 elections. One reason for the redistricting is the racial gerrymandering. From 1993 to 2016, the 3rd had covered most of the majority-black precincts in and around Hampton Roads and Richmond. The court-drawn map shifted the area near Richmond to the 4th District. The dispute over the district borders went to the U.S. Supreme Court in Wittman v. Personhuballah….”