Redistricting is perhaps one of the most vital functions of our democratic government, as it determines how people are represented in state legislatures and Congress.
Voters choose their representatives, not the other way around. Read our blog Redistricting 101 for a deeper explanation of these complex topics.
Unfortunately, redistricting frequently turns into a partisan game of gerrymandering, where the controlling party rigs the system to sustain and expand its power. Gerrymandering creates districts with ridiculous, contorted shapes, and results in elections in which majority party candidates are firmly entrenched in power, regardless of the will of the people. Voters of the opposing party are left with a devalued voice in government.
There is a wide variety of proposals that could be used to reduce the level of undue partisanship in the redistricting process. Although we don’t endorse any specific type of proposal, the ACLU of Ohio believes that any proposed reform, to be effective, must embody certain basic principles to guide the redistricting process:
- Redistricting lines should not be drawn with the purpose of either advantaging or disadvantaging voters because of their political affiliations.
- No matter what mechanism is employed, comprehensive redistricting reform may not permit a single party to control the process at any point.
- Reform must be structured to protect the voting strength of racial and ethnic minorities to elect candidates of their choice.
- Maps should be drawn in ways that minimize splits of communities of interest.
- The redistricting process must be transparent to the public.
- There must be opportunities for public hearing and comment both during the redistricting process and after the final map has been adopted.