In this informative and helpful article, we are going to be talking about some of the most interesting facts about redistricting. Reading these facts and figures will help you write an informative essay which in turn will help you score a better grade.
In USA, redistricting is generally known as establishing boundaries for the purpose of electoral districts.
Here are our ten facts about redistricting:
- Just after a census is taken, redistricting is performed after every ten years. According to the US constitution, it is mandatory that the number of people voting for a single representative be equal throughout the states. In a more technical term, every representative in congress should represent an equal number of citizens. Number of citizens apportioned to each state is defined by the general census.
- During the Baker v. Carr trial, the supreme court looked into the constitution and due to this, redistricting was strengthened greatly. The case led to the people having a right that their votes are counted equally during the election process. Generally known as the “1-Person equals 1-Vote” doctrine, Baker v. Carr set precedence for future cases as it is now a requirement for states to produce accurate and exact number of population changes after the census. Redistricting nowadays has been refined to the point where legislatures in congressional redistricting must be done with absolute accuracy and there is no tolerance for deviation.
- Geographical contiguity is a very important factor in legislative redistricting. Every electoral representative who wants to be elected from a single member district must work in accordance with the equal population requirement. If the number of house seats in a state is more than one, then according to the federal law, state legislatures will be responsible to divide the total population into further districts. Each district will have their own elected representative. The uniform state provision is that the federal law makes sure that populations dispersed geographically aren’t connected with bias. Graphical contiguity mandate enforces a limit towards how districts are drawn.
- There is such a thing called Partisan gerrymandering, in which the political party which is currently in control of creating district borders draws the lines in a way that it favors them and not the opposing party. Basically, this is an unethical trick to limit your opposition’s campaigning opportunities. Incumbent protection gerrymandering, also known as “bipartisan gerrymandering”, happens when the people in-charge of drawing the district lines assure that each political party maintains their control on each of the district where they are already dominant. This ensures that the division of the state is done in a way that it upholds partisan status quo.
- When the time of redistricting came in California, just after the 2000 census, there was a scuffle between democrats and republicans. At that time the state democrats were in control of the governor’s mansion and the state legislature. California law permits the party in control to oversee the redistricting process for state legislature and the state congressional delegation. The republicans replied by threatening to accelerate the balloting which left the entire redistricting process to an uncertain vote. They also threatened litigation that pushed the matter into court and thus lead into the state supreme court, which already had six republicans and one democratic appointee, to redistrict. This led to a truce and had created an example of how effective and democratic the process of redistricting can become, even during a fight.
- Redistricting has been used to eliminate incumbent as well. Just like the democrats were in control of the redistricting in California, the republicans were in control of the redistricting in Virginia. Democratic minority leader Richard Cranwell was targeted by the republicans which made him draw district lines through his neighborhood and put his house into the district of his friend and colleague Chip Woodrum. This led not only to an ethical dilemma for Richard Cranwell, because Woodrum was his friend, but also to an impossible winning situation because the resulting district after redistricting was dominated by Woodrum support. Hence he opted to not run for reelection in 2001.
- Redistricting has been known to achieve the dilution of minority votes as well. In 2003, Texas legislature drew district lines and the process itself was fought upon severely. Democratic state legislatures which were in minority left and went to Oklahoma and New Mexico in order to prevent state legislatures meetings. In return, Tom DeLay, at that time federal house majority leader, had created an issue with the opposition for using FAA to track their planes. The congressional redistricting plan transferred over a hundred thousand Latino voters from district 23 to 25, this was to protect one incumbent. This act of minority vote dilution was done because that particular incumbent lost all support from Latinos ever since 96’. This was resolved in the supreme court and Texas district 23 was redistricted and fairly divided.
- Redistricting often leads to closely knit communities being split. In the racial unrest of 92’, Los Angeles had suffered huge damage losses which amounts up to a billion dollars. Majority of that damage was sustained by the small businesses of Korean and Asian communities. When the communities collectively took the matter of cleanup and recovery to their local officials, they were told that the area was in another district. Turns out that the redistricting had split the Korean town. The one-mile area was appallingly divided into four city council and five state assembly districts. This was a classic example of small communities suffering at the hand of redistricting.
- A total of 22 states, at times, give the authority of redistricting to “Commissions” which is entity separate from legislatures. These commissions are different in every state but in all situations the legislatures have a say.
- A total of four states use “Advisory Commission”, which advise the legislatures because they have the final say, to help with the redistricting process. Five states use “Backup Commission” and their method of using them vary. Whenever there is conflict in agreement between legislatures on redistricting process, these backup commissions are supposed to step in. Seven states use “Politician Commissions” in which legislators or elected officials sit and the legislature isn’t involved in the final say. And last but not least, six states use “Independent Commissions” to perform their redistricting process.
So there you have it. We have presented you with ten very informative facts that will assist you in writing essays about redistricting in USA. Next we have twenty topics and our informative essay guide with which you can choose and write a superb paper on redistricting.
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Jim Sanders, Precursor to Prop. 77 “Orchestrated Well,” Sacramento Bee, Oct. 19, 2005, at A3; Democrats Might Gain Only 1 House Seat in Redistricting, Ventura County Star, Aug. 15, 2001.
Hanh Quach & Dena Bunis, All Bow to Redistrict Architect, Orange County Register, Aug. 26, 2001.
The “hand,” at the eastern end of current district 11, excised a portion of what had been Cranwell’s district 14. Lindsey Nair, Redistricting Effectively Moves Cranwell, Roanoke Times, Apr. 24, 2001.
See Ill. State Board of Elections, Search Vote Totals, at http://www.elections.il.gov/electioninformation/GetVoteTotals.aspx
Pamela S. Karlan, The Fire Next Time: Reapportionment After the 2000 Census, 50 STAN. L. REV. 731, 733 (1998) (citing Johnson v. De Grandy, 512 U.S. 997, 1020 (1994))
Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 199 (1962)
Albert Bergesen & Max Herman, Immigration, Race, and Riot: The 1992 Los Angeles Uprising, 63 Am. Soc. Rev. 39 (1998)