What is “redistricting” and why should we do it”?
Redistricting is the process of redrawing the lines that define political districts.
Why should we care?
Redistricting affects the size of our congressional and legislative districts which affects voting, elections, and representation. Every ten years, our legislative and congressional districts are allowed to be re-drawn usually by the political party in power in the state Capitol. This power should be in the hands of the citizens.
That’s why the Census, which occurs every ten years, is such a big deal. Census data is used to draw the lines of the districts. Redistricting should change districts to more accurately reflect the changes in numbers and interests of constituents. Census numbers also affect funding to the states from education to healthcare and more. The Census 2020 is very important! Please fill out the Census form today!
What is it exactly?
Redistricting, or AKA Gerrymandering as it has been practiced, is when elected or appointed officials in charge of redistricting reconfigure districts to favor a political party, incumbent, or candidate. Often the purpose of gerrymandering is to also create uncompetitive races or “safe districts” where districts are drawn to give one party or interest a clear advantage and secure incumbency.
There are 3 common types of gerrymandering:
Partisan: Where parties who are in control of the redrawing the districts, do so in a way that solidifies or even increases the number of seats of their party in the legislature or congress.
Bipartisan: Where typically both parties are equally represented in the decision making process and negotiate or trade in order for each party to have a more safe districts to protect their respective interests or incumbents.
Racial: Refers to a process in which district lines are drawn to prevent racial minorities from electing their preferred candidates.
Grappling with terminology? Check out our Redistricting Glossary.
What should we do?
The League of Women Voters has been busy working on a solution. Redistricting is a central focus of the LWVUS, the national League. Here’s the League’s position.
The League of Women Voters of Oregon has studied Redistricting and its importance and has signed on to People Not Politicians. PNP is looking for endorsers and volunteers to collect signatures to add to the November ballot a measure to create an independent nonpartisan commission to redraw the lines.