When looking at a map of the United States, it can be seen that it is very cut and dry. The borders of states are straight, cut at right angles, and distributes the land proportionally. The same cannot be seen or said for Congressional districts. The intention is to evenly divide up the States even further but instead, it is based on the state populations. It can also be apparent that the drawing of the districts in recent years has been less than about population numbers, but as to who the population votes for. Representation including district boundaries is known as the practice of gerrymandering. So in the process of setting districts, gerrymandering is a practice attempting to establish a political advantage for a particular group. …show more content…
It was not until 1964 in the case of Reynolds vs Sims that found “An individual 's right to vote for state legislators is unconstitutionally impaired when its weight is in a substantial fashion when compared with votes of citizens living in other parts of the State” (Reynolds v Sims), which came as a result of discriminatory representation in the state of Alabama. This case however, only outlines unlawful practice in a narrow fashion, not giving full width to the possible practices. Districts can still be redrawn in ways that give one group a large advantage over their competitors. It is described that “Voters in seven states...have turned to such commissions in an effort to reduce political "gerrymandering," the map-drawing method that leads to districts easily won by Democrats or Republicans” (Wolf). This is why we see districts drawn in such illogical patterns that render the minority groups, most likely powerless. This can also allow the minority group to unlikely win. Only when race seems to be the predominant factor in the apportionment, do these redistribution schemes face any legal action, being at risk with the 14th Amendment. It is very easily possible to give a win to a minority party because of these practices. In North Carolina, where the two-party House vote was fifty-one percent Democratic, forty-nine percent Republican, the average simulated delegation was seven Democrats and
The first proposal, of changing the electoral system for the House of Representatives, would mean that each state is represented in proportion to its population. This entails that states with higher populations will receive more votes because they have more seats in the House. Less populous states may argue against this reform because they will have a disadvantage when it comes to voting on legislation. However, the reform also includes having each state serve as electoral districts. In this case, multi-member districts will be needed—proportional representation will require a larger district magnitude. Having these territorial subdivisions will help create an efficient legislative system because there would be less possibility of manipulating the votes—not as relevant to election results when seats are proportional. Having the votes distributed in this manner may help avoid a deadlock and therefore, allow for a faster process when passing legislation. In addition, minorities will have chance to be represented by possibly gaining a seat in a particular district—a highly populous
The gerrymandering process allows the majority party within a given state to maximize the number of seats it can win in the future elections. This leads it into creating as many districts as possible where it constitutes the majority. By doing this, those who support the minority parties are packed into the remaining few districts. This results in more electoral security for the minority party and less electoral security for the members of the minority parties. It also produces greater homogeneity within the districts while reducing competition for the house seats. Apart from the positive effects of gerrymandering, there are a number of negative effects associated with partisan gerrymandering. This process results in more competitive districts when compared to the non competitive districts and this in turn ambiguously affects polarization. Partisan gerrymandering also affects the state legislative electoral competitiveness as it has severe partisan biases. Excessive partisan gerrymandering is the violation of the equal protection clause since it consigns the
In the following essay I will be talking about the disadvantages and advantages of partisan elections for state politics. I will also examine the last couple year’s election results and costs. Finally, I will discuss if partisanship made a difference in the vote, as well as if a judge should be decided by partisan vote. In the next couple paragraphs I will talk more specifically about these topics.
Politics in the United States is a complex structure that is comprised of many systems. While most of these systems appear to work well, there are a few that are broken. A perfect example of a broken system is the district boundaries and the likelihood of gerrymandering. Multiple states across the country are subjected to gerrymandering, which is the act of dividing a county into election districts that provide one political party with an unfair advantage over the other. Gerrymandering is used to help or prevent a particular demographic from gaining adequate representation. In Florida, for example, there is controversy over Congressional District 5, which extends from Jacksonville down to Orlando in a way that creates a “minority-majority” district.
Texas has a controversial way of electing its judges. When Texas became a state in 1845, judges were appointed by the governor with Senate consent, but since 1876, judges at all levels of courts have been elected by the people in partisan elections. The main problem with this system is partisan elections lead to more campaign contributions and increased partisanship among judge which hinders fair and independent judiciary system.
Without a certain degree of control over the governmental levels of power, blacks end up disproportionately dependent on white-created legislation and white administration of those laws (Pohlmann, 219). The potential dangers of gerrymandering involves the distribution of blacks into districts where they are diluted into a minority or the creation of districts where blacks are an excessive majority so that an overall district majority white can be achieved (Thornburgh v. Gingles, 31). These redistricting plans severely hindered blacks ability to vote for a representative of their choice (1). However, in order to stem the progress of racially discriminating gerrymandering, these districts are examined based on the impact and district composition
Riker argues that these bold uses of gerrymandering are made possible, and even encouraged, by two landmark Supreme Court Cases. Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims were two similar cases from the 1960’s that addressed the unequal representation caused by the unwillingness of politicians to adjust the electoral districts to accurately reflect the major population changes of the twentieth century.15 Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims forced Congress and state legislative bodies to correct this inaccurate political representation by mandating equally sized voting districts.16 In fact, Reynolds v. Sims went so far as to require a voting population difference of no more than ten percent between the largest and smallest electoral districts.17 Furthermore,
There are two types of gerrymandering, the first is called packing. Packing is when you put the same type of people in one electoral district. Why is packing helpful?, well packing can decrease the chance of one party influencing the other party. Cracking is the other way of gerrymandering, this is when you spread one party out to decrease their impact on the district, causing the other party to win the district. Gerrymandering in general sounds a little wrong in a political view. It sounds very wrong after hearing about the great gerrymander in 2012. In the house of representatives we have 435 seats. To be able to determine how many seats go to a state every ten years the department of commerce holds something called a census. The
Members of Congress are voted to office by their electorate as their representatives at the congress level of democracy. In their capacity, they may decide to exercise their powers by the will of the people or according to their personal judgment. When the members of Congress opt to be the people’s delegate, their actions in the House and other congressional engagements are a reflection of the will of their district. As such, the delegate representative does not have or exercise the autonomy to represent and decide for their district. Instead, a strenuous consultation process is required to keep the people in control of all relevant decisions.
When I thought of the topic Gerrymandering, I thought perhaps it would be too far-fetched when it came to the Rubric designed in a women studies class. But, on further review of the subject matter I realized how important this practice is to study, and how it can be used for both good and evil concepts in the political scheme of things.
In 1787, one of the most debated issues was the size of the House of Representatives. During the Constitutional Convention, the delegates proposed that 40,000 citizens should be represented by one congressional district. However, George Washington intervened and argued that 40,000 was too high, and reasoned that 30,000 was more reasonable and allow people to be represented adequately Washington’s proposal was incorporated in Article One, Section Two of the Constitution which states “representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.” While the number of representatives did increase throughout the history of the United States, the number has been set at 435 members since 1929. Congress in 1929 passed the Permanent Apportionment Act that set the number of representatives at 435, which was set after a 1910 census. Currently each representative represents 700,000 citizens and congressional seats are redistricted around the nation based on population changes. But the currently number of representatives does not adequately represent the present population and a single district cannot represent a huge number of people. Therefore, the current number of representatives must be increased.
The article, “In Praise of Gerrymandering” written by Kevin D. Williamson, talks about gerrymandering, which is when politicians are cheating to be elected and shares his opinion that Republicans have become “too good” at this. He then illustrates that Democrats need to demonstrate better ways of obtaining votes.
Proportional representation is an electoral system where parties will earn congressional seats in proportion to how many votes people cast for them. This would be an extreme opposite to the result of gerrymandering. People would then feel the need to vote because they know that their vote will actually go towards something. If 25% of the voters supported a certain party, that party would then get about 25% of congressional seats. Proportional representation is a way that could help fix the unfairness of the plurality system. The plurality system allows for larger parties to get an unfair amount of congressional seats whereas smaller parties do not have this advantage and also have a huge difficulty in winning any representation at all, also known as Duverger’s law. This would be a great way to prevent gerrymandering which helps with the redistricting issue majorly. Proportional representation could be brought in without a constitutional amendment in some cases, but the system born from this would not work well unless the powers of the Governor General were made clear. What would require a constitutional amendment would be a change to the powers of the Governor General. If it were simple enough to not require a constitutional amendment, I feel as if this would be an excellent idea and help solve many problems and unhappy people with our current
Gerrymandering is the use of redrawing certain districts and manipulating the boundaries allowing a political advantage to one’s party and the other a disadvantage. This process occurs every ten years as new political candidates run to be a government official ( Fan 737 ). It started in 1812 where Governor Gerry redrew the district lines of Massachusetts, giving his party an advantage. That is how Gerrymandering got its name. Usually, the person who redraws the district goes after the urban areas because of how populated they are compared to rural areas. This is not good for the United States because of many reasons; Gerrymandering create districts that are confusing to voters because of the weird shapes and sizes, claims of the party can be contradictory, and the fact that gerrymandering is around, makes the people believe that the candidates are corrupted and running the right the vote. ( RULEY 785 ).
This essay determine how 100 congressional seats should be divided among the 10 states of the union. The number of seats in a state should (in any fair distribution) be proportional to its ratio in the population. Therefore rounding according to some (acceptable) rule should be applied.