Opinion

Kasten: Gerrymandering in Arizona hurts access to democracy

Posted 5/13/22

What is fair, democratic or representative about the concept of Congressional districts as it is practiced today? In my opinion, absolutely nothing.

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Opinion

Kasten: Gerrymandering in Arizona hurts access to democracy

Posted

What is fair, democratic or representative about the concept of Congressional districts as it is practiced today? In my opinion, absolutely nothing.

Often, we hear “win at the ballot box.”

For many voters, that’s simply not possible with the “districts” as they are today. The current practices are the result of a law passed in 1967 following the implementation of the 1965 Civil Rights Act. Although the law has been the subject of further legislative action and even Supreme Court decisions, it remains the law of the land.

That law requires the states to have “single member districts” (as opposed to “multi-member or “at large members”). Implementation of the law has resulted in geographic boundaries as the only method used to create the Districts.

This is not required by the Federal law; however, many states have written laws on “districting” that make geographic boundaries a requirement for that state. If you follow the news at all, you have heard the terms “redistricting based on 2020 Census” and “gerrymandering.” And possibly you have read about “so-and-so” moving or changing districts to improve their election chances (not to provide better representation).

Most of the news stories share an aura of partisanship and confusion for the voter. The conventions that are designed to control the drawing of the geographic boundary as given by the  Supreme Court decisions do not mention “political party preference” as a criterion.

And yet for nearly 90% of the voting population, the boundary of the district you live in is the result of partisan manipulations. Even in states with so-called independent redistricting commissions, the end results are usually heavily influenced by partisan demands.

It is my opinion that only getting out of the geographical boundary district method and into a 21st century use of “random selection” districts will provide the fair, democratic and representative system that the Constitution of the United States calls for in Section II of Article 1.

I doubt party officials on either side would be interested as it would not further “the party,” but I think the voters would be very interested.

Thank you for reading.

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