Gerrymandering is the process of dividing up and redrawing state districts to give one political party an advantage.
With gerrymandering one party could acquire the most votes in the state but, because the way the voters are grouped into their districts, the opposing party can end up with more seats in congress.
- Every State has a certain amount of congressional districts depending on that state’s population.
- Every 2 years voters in those districts vote a single representative to Congress
- Every 10 years the boundaries of these districts can be redrawn to better represent the population
Gerrymandering is the process of redrawing the districts grouping all of the opposing party’s voters into a few large districts while grouping the controlling party’s voters into many smaller districts therefore giving the controlling party more seats in congress.
- If each district gets one representative irregardless of size you end up with drastically unequal representation in congress.
- Perfect example is North Carolina which holds 3 of the most Gerry Mandered (redrawn) districts in the country. In 2012 their elections showed 51% of voters supported the Democrats and 49% supported the Republicans but, because of how the lines were drawn, 9 Republicans and 4 Democrats ending up going to Congress.
The Republican Party has used this tactic to their advantage over the past 30 years as they hold most of the state Governorships and it is the Governor's office who is in charge of drawing the districts.
How is this legal?
It’s only legal because the Supreme Court can’t seem to make a decision on the issue. They agree it could be a violation to 14th amendment but can’t agree on a standard, definition or alternative solution and, as of 2004, have considered the issue “unsolvable” and therefore the practice, no matter how shady, can’t be deemed unconstitutional. They are, however, currently discussing the constitutionality of having independent groups draw district lines instead of bias legislators.
Gerrymandering has long been understood to stand in the way of TRUE democracy while helping PARTISAN politicians consolidate power.
Some have pointed to the 2014 Congressional win for the Republicans as a direct result of Gerrymandering. Ex. States like Pennsylvania voted more than half Democrat but only ended up with a quarter of the congressional seats.
There's no doubt that it's a rigged system and anti-gerrymandering groups might have put it best when they said: "Instead of voters choosing their representatives, representatives end up choosing their voters."