Gerrymandering and Redistricting
We often hear the term “gerrymandering” — what is it, why is it important?
Gerrymandering is the process of drawing the boundaries of electoral districts to favor one group, instead of drawing the boundaries to make logical, compact districts.
Every ten years, following the national Census, city council, state legislature and congressional district boundaries must be redrawn to reflect the nation’s growing and shifting population. Do you know who draws the lines of your district and how this will affect your next election, the school system your children belong to, or the interests of the community you live in? Do you know what options you have under the current rules – and how to change them?
Much of the work of redistricting takes place behind closed doors. Legislators and political consultants decide which streets or neighborhoods are in or out, specialists make the maps, and the public has little opportunity to weigh in. Districts are often crafted for political gain – a practice known as gerrymandering.
We believe that this should change – that the process should be more transparent and that the web enables us all to be more involved. Armed with knowledge and the right tools, you should have a chance to redraw the map on redistricting and to end gerrymandering.
The next federal census is in 2020, which means states will “redistrict” in 2021, using recent census data. REDISTRICTING IS CRITICAL TO OUR REPRESENTATIVE FORM OF GOVERNMENT, yet it is little-known and most folks do not pay attention to it.
In Virginia, new district lines are drawn by the General Assembly, in secret. This practice must change.
OneVirginia2021 is an organization that is working to require redistricting to be done, not by the General Assembly, but by an independent commission. OneVirginia2021 is a leader in advocating for fair redistricting in the Commonwealth of Virginia by organizing through local, regional, and statewide efforts. OneVirginia2021 partners with individuals and organizations to raise awareness, provide information, and work with legislators to implement meaningful reform.
We urge you to visit the OneVirginia2021 website, read their material, sign their petition, and contact your local General Assembly representatives — urge them to support demands for an independent redistricting commission in 2021.
National Gerrymandering and Redistricting Issues
This site — EndGerrymandering.com — has a video that illustrates the impact of gerrymandering as well as many resources and links to other sites with information about redistricting.
The Brennan Center for Justice on Redistricting. Excellent resource.
This book — in spite of its inelegant title — describes the extensive gerrymandering done by the Republican Party prior to the 2010, 2012, and 2016 elections. Ratf***ed: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy. A copy of this book is in the Northumberland Public Library.
This article focuses on North Carolina to show the impact of gerrymandering on Congressional elections.
Read this article that warns Democrats will be a minority party unless and until we stop Republican gerrymandering.