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tompaine.com | Richie on redistricting reform, competition and superdistricts

by Jack Santucci // Published December 13, 2005
FairVote's Rob Richie discusses the failure of independent redistricting initiatives in Ohio and California, electoral competition, and how natural partisan geography renders any redistricting strategy - independent or not - relatively futile.

From "The Safe Seat Pandemic" at tompaine.com:

...We must start by recognizing two key points about the limitations of any strategy founded on maintaining all single-member districts.

Winner-take-all gives huge power over representation to whoever draws the district lines. Just changing who draws district lines means taking the power over determining most people's representation from one set of political elites and giving it to another-a change unlikely to get voters very excited. We should instead give that power to voters with proportional voting methods.

Winner-take-all districts simply cannot accommodate three fundamental principles of free and fair elections: universal voter choice, leadership accountability and fair representation. Indeed, winner-take-all districts put those goals into direct conflict with each other. That means anyone truly serious about the problem of lack of voter choice must confront that we have reached winner-take-all's endgame: It just doesn't work effectively in modern politics...

FairVote proposes the country adopt a system of superdistricts that would allow for majority rule and representation of geographic units without the drawbacks of winner-take-all.

[ Read the whole piece ]