For years, FairVote has highlighted how our nation's reliance upon winner-take-all elections and single member districts for Congressional elections without national standards has left our voting process open to the abuses of unfair partisan gerrymandering. Insiders for decades have known how powerful redistricting can be for elected officials to protect friends and undermine opponents. It's a blood sport that both parties have exploited, thereby minimizing the role of voters in the political process. By gerrymandering the districts, legislators and their political cronies have used redistricting to choose their voters, before voters have had the opportunity to choose them.
For the historical development of redistricting, see All About Redistricting. For FairVote's solution to the gerrymandering problem, see the Fair Voting plan for the U.S. House.
FairVote Resources on Redistricting
The process of redistricting is highly partisan and often comes at the expense of voters. FairVote has developed a number of new resources regarding redistricting, including:
- Monopoly Politics 2012 and Fair Voting 2012: FairVote's twin reports respectively examining the 2011-2012 redistricting process and proposing the fair voting solution.
- Glossary - An A to Z guide to terms and definitions
- Litigation - A summary of ongoing lawsuits to redistricting plans and procedures throughout the country
- Reform Legislation - A report on proposed laws in all fifty states to improve redistricting processes
- Resource List - A guide and review of the best redistricting resources from around the web
- Additional Links - FairVote also contributes to Endgerrymandering.com and tweets current redistricting news
Redistricting encourages manipulation of our elections by allowing incumbent politicians to help partisan allies, hurt political enemies and choose their voters before the voters choose them. The current process is used as a means to further political goals by drawing boundaries to protect incumbents and reduce competition, rather than to ensure equal voting power and fair representation.
Solutions to the Redistricting Problem
FairVote encourages a number of short-term solutions such as national standards for transparency and public input, as well as replacing the partisan system with independent commissions at the state level. However, resolving the gerrymandering dilemma is only part of the problem. To achieve competitive elections, legislative diversity, and other public interest goals, fundamental change requires multimember districts with proportional voting. These reforms will help ensure all voters have choices and no strong prospective candidate is shut out of a chance to participate.
Read about other redistricting reform work and analysis from two coalitions backed by FairVote: Americans for Redistricting Reform and EndGerrymandering.com.
Redistricting Blog Posts
February 15, 2013
Independent redistricting continues to gain attention as the panacea for American congressional elections. But as the independent redistricting's performance in California shows, on its own it cannot resolve the most serious problems with our congressional elections. We need to combine independent redistricting with adoption of fair voting plans.
December 16, 2012
This year's elections put a spotlight on the troubled nature of how we elect the House of Representatives, the alleged "people's house." But some of our smartest election experts don't seem to understand the root of the problems with House elections.
November 27, 2012
In southern states, racially polarized elections remain an active part of political life. Since 1965, the Voting Rights Act has guaranteed that African Americans in the South cannot be shut out of elections either through direct barriers to voting or through discriminatory districts that prevent the achievement of representation. However, relying on winner-take-all elections has inherent limitations. In the belt of southern states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, the use of districting to achieve a fairer level of representation for African Americans has hit a ceiling. To push through that ceiling and achieve truly fair representation, FairVote recommends abandoning the single-member district in favor of super districts elected by choice voting.
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