Posted on November 02, 2005This November, voters in California and Ohio soundly rejected ballot measures calling for independent redistricting processes to be created for each state's Congressional and state legislative line-drawing processes. The failure of these efforts does not indicate voters dislike reform, but it shows voters can be suspicious of plans that promise more than they can achieve, as well as apparent partisan motivations intrinsic to any mid-decade, state-by-state redistricting initiative.
With voters still seeking public interest elections, the time has come for an honest dialogue about the actual effects of redistricting. Additionally, the dialogue must be expanded to give line-drawing bodies more tools and options, such as multimember districts and proportional voting systems. In the least, we can do something unheard of in political circles: let the citizens decide. States should look to create citizens assemblies to study and recommend electoral changes, as British Columbia recently did with much success. In the meantime, Congress should embrace national efforts to reform redistricting, and in doing so avoid the state-by-state partisan calculations that the failed initiatives created.
[ FairVote Staff Blogs on Redistricting ]
[ Rob Richie's Op. Ed. on Redistricting ]
[ FairVote's Redistricting Reform Watch ]
[ Heather Gerken on a Citizens Assembly ]
[ Steven Hill Calls for a Citizens Assembly ]
[ Federal Redistricting Legislation ]