Cooper Pushes to End Gerrymandering
February 15, 2013
“In 77 percent of districts nationwide, we usually know who will win before the first vote is even cast. Voters used to choose their politicians, but now politicians choose their voters,” said Cooper. “Both parties are guilty of crafting maps in secret, and that’s wrong. We must shed some sunlight on this process so folks know how these maps are drawn. Redistricting should be about electing, not protecting, candidates.”
The Blue Dog Coalition endorsed Cooper’s bill last week along with the John Tanner Fairness in Redistricting Act (H.R. 223), which was introduced by Rep. John Barrow (D-GA). H.R. 223 takes the politics out of redistricting by requiring each state to establish an independent, bipartisan redistricting commission to redraw Congressional districts. It also prohibits a state that has been redistricted after an apportionment from being redistricted again until after the next apportionment, unless ordered by a court to comply with the U.S. Constitution or enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and sets minimum standards for states when redrawing Congressional maps. Cooper is a co-sponsor of this bill.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years after the federal census is conducted. In
Gerrymandering is not solely to blame for increased partisanship and gridlock in the House, but clearly plays a role. The chart below from the Cook Political Report shows the decline of swing seats and increase in strongly partisan House districts since 1998. After the latest decennial redistricting, only 99 of 435 House districts are rated as competitive by the Cook Political Report’s Partisan Voting Index.
By contrast, in
Another exception in 2012 was
For more information, view a one-pager on Congressional gerrymandering.