In the United States, most of the time state legislatures control redistricting. This has the unfortunate consequence of resulting in gerrymandering and diluting the voting power of a party whenever the other party is in power of redistricting.
In the past 100 years, four times in Congressional votes, a party has received the popular vote yet has not won, mostly due to gerrymandering. Those dates are 2012 ®, 1996 ®, 1942 (D), and 1914 (D). Given that in 100 years there have only been 50 elections, that is a pretty disturbing outcome, and even more disturbing when we take into account presidential elections, or even local elections.
Why, in this day and age, do we still let partisan groups determine how states are divided into districts? Especially when computers can do some in a fair, unbiased way. It just seems weird to let state legislatures split states when the legislature itself has a clear motive to turn elections in the controlling party’s favor.
A couple of solutions:
Have redistricting decided by a completely bipartisan groups or independent entities. Six states use bipartisan committees: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, and Washington. Three use independent entities, but the legislature must approve redistricting: Florida, Iowa, and Maine. The problem with this is the so-called “bipartisan gerrymandering”, where groups from either party strike a deal in order to maintain the status quo, which may not be fair.
Redistricting is done by a completely unbiased independent entity, without legislative approval. This would remove any party interests interfering with redistricting, but the independent entity would still be subject to any bias or bribery by either Party.
[*]Have computer programs draw district maps according to unbiased, fair mathematical rules. The simplest I can think of is the shortest splitline method, where the state is split using the shortest line possible. However, it has a tendency to split cities and other metropolitan areas. However, this method can easily be modified to avoid splitting cities and still have the proper proportions of population. Other mathematical methods can also be found that would by their nature be unbiased.
[/LIST]It is time to bring gerrymandering to an end. Having legislatures decide district map allows too much bias to enter the system. What are your thoughts on removing this power from state legislature?