Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hopefully an End to Gerrymandering

All hail the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act (H.R.2642). Democratic Congressman from Tennessee, John Tanner, has introduced legislation that would stop the mid census redistricting that incumbents use to retain their seat and partisans use to gain seats. From Tanners press release:

It is time to take politics and partisanship out of the Congressional redistricting process, Congressman John Tanner said today when he introduced the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act. The bill calls for an independent, bipartisan commission in each state to redraw Congressional district maps every 10 years and restricts redistricting efforts from taking place between census cycles.

“Partisan politicians have hijacked the electoral system through redistricting,” Tanner said. “Voters have lost much of their say in who they hire to represent them in Washington. We need to reform the process to put the House of Representatives back in the hands of the people as it was designed to be.”

Redistricting is traditionally conducted every 10 years, following the decennial census, to ensure equal population in each Congressional district. Many have come to view the process as a partisan opportunity to strengthen some incumbencies and weaken the chances of their political opponents. Due in part to the redistricting system, 95% of incumbents retained their U.S. House seats in last year’s elections, and only seven seats out of 435 changed hands from one major party to another.

“The political center has been disappearing in Washington,” said Tanner, a founding member of the Blue Dog Coalition, comprised of 35 moderate to conservative House Democrats. “Part of the reason is that so many Congressional districts have been designed to guarantee victory for one political party or another, paving the way for partisan extremists unwilling to work cooperatively with others toward the best interest of the country.

“The result is political polarization and tyranny of the majority, which is dangerous in any country or state where one party controls every branch of government.”

(Full Press Release)

H/T The Moderate Republican

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