Redistricting

Don’t hold your breath on this. I can’t believe the GOP, after being the victim of redistricting for so long, would now want to give up the power to make the Democrats the victims of redistricting.

A state task force on Tuesday recommended that redistricting be placed in the hands of an independent commission, saying the current process “does not serve the best interest of the Georgia electorate and should be changed.

19 comments

  1. ColinATL says:

    Truly, I believe an independent panel to handle all redistricting would be fantastic, and I’m not saying that just as a Democrat in the minority. I think government becomes less responsive to the people when legislators do everything in their power to preserve incumbency and partisan advantage, regardless of party. To me, that’s what really sucks about the current redistricting process.

    True, Erick, the GOP may have previously been the “victim” of redistricting, but all participants agree that the nature of redistricting and gerrymandering has changed to the point of perfection in recent years due to computer GIS systems. And the Republicans have the definite advantage under the current map. Any independent commission would likely be charged with minimizing changes to the current districts, I imagine…

    With regards to the thumping-despite-gerrymandering argument, I don’t have the data to back it up, but I fully imagine that the trouncing would have been MUCH worse (e.g., 60 House seats) had all US Congressional districts been drawn rationally to begin with…

  2. StevePerkins says:

    I’m cautiously skeptical, but impressed with the wisdom here. Nobody wins in the long run with tit-for-tat gerrymandering and other such political games.

    After the Libertarians helped boot Wyche Fowler from the Senate in ’92, the state legislature moved the threshold for a runoff down to 45%. Four years later they realized that Guy Millner would have beaten Max Cleland had there been a runnoff, so the 50% threshold was quickly reinstated.

    What’s the sense in monkeying around with this stuff, under the delusion that the wind won’t change direction tomorrow and cause what help you today to hurt you then? The GOP majority in Georgia looks “permanent” right now, but the same was true on the national level until very recently. Why promote an unfair system, knowing that it will be used against you too someday, when you can take the high road and promote a fair system? Sure, there are no guarantees the other party will honor it next time they come into power, but they’ll look like crap if they don’t.

  3. drjay says:

    i understand the whole victor taking the spoils thing and all–but the gop enjoyed a 9 to 3 majority of congressmen in the 90’s w/ dem drawn lines so i’m not sure it makes that big a difference–also this year we failed to win back the 8th and 12th w/ “gop drawn” lines…this may have some merit…there is something to be said for things like geographic rationality…

  4. DougieFresh says:

    In my opinion, it is never a mistake to do the right thing. Gerrymandering severely injures our Republic because it allows representatives to select their voters instead of allowing voters to select their representatives.

    This is a horrible practice, no matter how much it favors our side. Sonny has earned a lot of respect in my book.

  5. Bull Moose says:

    Oh this is the best news that I’ve seen in a while.

    If our elected officials are truly committed to what is right and best for the state, they will enthusiastically enact this legislation and send it to the Governor for his signature.

    If they do not, then they need to explain why they do not trust the people, because that’s the only reason that one could be against this proposal.

  6. LymanHall says:

    Wouldn’t it put the fun back in it (never mind the democracy) if we had competitive districts all over the country? With lots of districts in play, we could have a battle of ideas and records, not just a race to the bottom mud fest. Let’s go back to letting the people choose their representative and not the representative choosing their people.

  7. ColinATL says:

    Erick, I’m guessing that you mean nonpartisan redistricting. Gerrymandering for any reason is what we were working against, I thought. 🙂

  8. DougieFresh says:

    Probably the best way to ensure a “fair” districting plan would be to increase the number of people who’s approval is required in the process.

    Maybe require approval of all bodies of government, Senate, House, Governor, Supreme Court and perhaps even a majority of county commisions. It would be hard to work in a Barnes-esque Gerrymander in that situation.

  9. Erick says:

    Yeah Colin, talk about a freudian slip.

    And Chris, while the partisan in me relishes Kidd’s defeat, the normal every day citizen thinks that both parties can stagnate by the heavy gerrymandering — they no longer have to compete in the marketplace of ideas and that is a very bad thing.

  10. Demonbeck says:

    I would support it – if and only if – it ends Georgia’s requirement for federal approval before implementing new districts.

  11. Bull Moose says:

    Demonbeck there you go again with your anti-fairness issues. Georgia has a long history and tradition of disenfranchising minorities.

    I’m sorry, but you have to face facts.

    This legislation can be done which takes into account the federal guidelines and draws fair districts.

    It’s the right thing to do and by God I want to know where my legislators stand on this issue.

    I want to see this enacted, singed, and become the law of the state.

  12. atlantaman says:

    “After the Libertarians helped boot Wyche Fowler from the Senate in ‘92, the state legislature moved the threshold for a runoff down to 45%. Four years later they realized that Guy Millner would have beaten Max Cleland had there been a runnoff, so the 50% threshold was quickly reinstated.”

    I think you’re a little off with your dates and the timing of “quickly” reinstating the 50% threshold.

  13. JP says:

    It would be a big step for Georgia to do the correct thing rather than the “right” thing in this case–after showing that it’s happy with things as they are by not ousting any Republicans from the House or the Governor’s mansion. I for one have lost most of my hope for this state, but acting fairly on this might just be a faint sign of life. We’ll see.

  14. Demonbeck says:

    “Demonbeck there you go again with your anti-fairness issues. Georgia has a long history and tradition of disenfranchising minorities.

    I’m sorry, but you have to face facts. ”

    Bull Moose,

    Georgia does indeed have a history of disenfranchising voters – both minority and otherwise. Currently, our state is disenfranchising Democrats as a whole whereas, until recently, it was Republicans being disenfranchised.

    However, over the past few decades, the only race-based disenfranchisement being conducted in this state due to reapportionment has been handed down by the federal government.

    If we take the politics out of the picture, then we have a better system. However, until we take race out of the picture as well, the system will not be fair. Until that day, my vote (as a white Christian male) will not be equal to that of those of other demographics.

    It is contradictory to push for taking politics out of redistricting while pushing to keep race in it.

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