You naturally want your favorite politician to win an election, but elections also need to be fair to ensure corrupt leaders don’t stay in office for decades making rulings the people don’t want.
Voters are grouped into different districts that elect county and municipal leaders as well as state legislators. Every ten years a census is taken, and if the population of one district increases while another declines, the district’s lines are redrawn in order to have fair representation. The Co-Chairman of Fair Districts Colorado was Kent Thiry, and he says the purpose of redistricting is to ensure the majority of the people have a voice in government. It protects communities of interest and ensures their voice is heard.
A Good Idea Gone Bad
Unfortunately, corrupt politicians have used redistricting to their advantage by rearranging districts so they only include those people who vote for them. These politicians pick and choose the voters they want. In a democracy, the people are supposed to choose the politicians, not the other way around. Redistricting in order to get a politician elected is called gerrymandering, and politicians on both sides of the political fence use it to ensure they stay in power.
How To Stop Gerrymandering
While it isn’t easy to stop gerrymandering, voters can fight for the right to choose their leaders. Even middle school students have come up with a solution. You can as well. Here are some ways to stop gerrymandering.
1. Use Online Redistricting Maps
You can find out how your district is divided by using looking at the redistricting maps that are available on the internet. Dave’s Redistricting allows you to create a resimulation of how districts in your area would look if you redistricted an area yourself. It’s a way of putting the power back into citizens’ hands.
Using these web tools, you can find your community of interest. Then talk to those in charge of redrawing districts. Show them where your community of interest is located. If your community must be split, show representatives where it needs to be divided so that your community has a fair vote in elections.
2. Demand To Be Heard
Anytime officials plan on redistricting a community, they hold a hearing. The schedule of those hearings is listed on your state’s website. Let people know about them. Attend the hearings and present to others how you want your district to be divided.
Make a display showing the redistricting map lawmakers intend and the map you prefer. Argue why your community needs to be redistricted that way. Talk to the media as well. Write letters to the editor and discuss the issue with local television stations.
3. Fight To Establish Independent Redistricting Commissions
Independent redistricting commissions are separate from the government and aren’t controlled by them. They ensure that voters, rather than politicians determine how districts are divided. These commissions fight to ensure that honest people are put on the redistricting commissions and that the districts are drawn fairly.
Gerrymandering is a persistent problem in government, but you can fight for change and fair representation.