Local NewsNational Politics

Actions

Redistricting continues to cause headaches as elections approach

Redistricting Congress
Posted at 2:24 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 17:25:04-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The midterm elections are less than six months away and while campaigning is intensifying in many parts of the country, in some places this election cycle has been confusing and polarizing.

That's because of redistricting or, what some call, gerrymandering.

That's the process of redrawing district boundaries.

WHAT IS IT?

If you are wondering why redistricting is sometimes called gerrymandering, it is because it is named after a founding father of the country, Elbridge Gerry.

He was a former vice president under President James Madison, but it was when he was governor of Massachusetts that his name became synonymous with drawing controversial lines.

The map he signed into law included a district in Boston that legend states looked like a salamander.

Ever since then, approximately every ten years, many politicians in power draw maps to benefit their political needs.

Why do politicians do it this way? Sometimes they are forced to because of a recent Census but the controversy usually comes from political opportunity.

POLITICAL BENEFIT

The political benefit of gerrymandering is obvious and both parties do it.

By putting more city voters, who tend to vote Democratic, in the same district as suburban voters, you can make a district more likely to vote Democrat.

Republicans can do the same thing by putting more conservative, rural voters into a suburban district, making it more likely to vote Republican.

You can also create districts so politicians don't face competitive elections.

CONFUSION IN STATES

In the state of Florida, legal battles continue after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law his version of a new map.

Many voting rights groups say it hurts the chances of Black representation.

It's not just Republicans engulfed in controversies this year.

New York's Court of Appeals ruled the map in that state drawn by Democrats was too partisan.

Judges demanded a new one be drawn and now longtime Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler must run against each other. They are longtime friends in the same political party.

In Ohio, it got so bad this year that a federal court actually said in approving a set of maps: "our options were limited. So we chose the best of our bad options"

Some primaries in Ohio have been delayed for months as a result and their continues to be criticism and questions over the maps.

So is every state bad with drawing lines? No.

Ten states draw their maps using independent or bipartisan commissions.

Those states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey, Washington, Montana and Virginia.

While there was certainly controversy in those states over maps this year, it was much less than in the states where the political party in power drew the lines.

If you live in a state where controversy has taken place this year, expect calls for reform in the coming years.

Lawmakers will do it all over again in 2031.