When politicians deliberately alter a voting district’s boundaries to favor their own political party, that’s called gerrymandering.
GERRYMANDER: HOW IT ERASES YOUR VOTE
GERRYMANDER REDISTRICTING TACTICS
• “Cracking” is spreading voters of the opposing party amongst many districts to prevent them from creating a dominant voting bloc in any particular district.
• “Packing” concentrates a lot of voters of one party (or interest group) into a single electoral district to reduce their influence in other districts.
• “Hijacking” redraws two districts in such a way as to force two incumbents to run against each other in one district, so that one of them will be eliminated.
• “Kidnapping” moves an incumbent’s home address into another district, which makes reelection more difficult.
North Carolina is a Republican state. Before the city of Asheville NC was gerrymandered, however, it was essentially a Democratic district. In 2016, the State General Assembly—primarily Republican—enacted a plan to guarantee Republican control of North Carolina’s congressional delegation. They redistricted the city of Asheville by dividing it in half and making each half a part of a larger Republican district, eliminating Asheville as a political entity. Democrats, still the majority party, no longer have an effective vote in Asheville.
A suit filed by Democrats, the League of Women Voters and others, led to a Federal court ruling striking down North Carolina’s redistricted congressional map, on January 9, 2018. Federal Judge James A. Wynn Jr., stated that the Republicans in the state legislature had been “motivated by invidious partisan intent,” and, as a result, had violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. Note: This was the first time a Federal Court struck down a gerrymandered district.
HAS YOUR DISTRICT BEEN GERRYMANDERED?
You may have been gerrymandered if:
• A map of your congressional district looks disconnected or oddly shaped (like an inkblot, an abstract painting, a snake).
• Your district has changed and your representative seems no longer interested in your concerns.
• Your district’s new boundaries don’t seem to make any sense.
• Your representative skips town meetings to go golfing with a lobbyist.
WE ALL CAN HELP
CommonCause and FairVote are two non-profit organizations that include gerrymandering as one of their main issues. VotersNotPoliticians is only about gerrymandering. All three are nationwide and fight gerrymandering on a state-by-state basis. They are looking for more members, volunteers, and donations.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
• en.wikipedia.org - Gerrymandering tactics
• publicmapping.org - Districts and redistricting explained
• nytimes.com - North Carolina gerrymandering
• votersnotpoliticians.com - How to tell if your district has been gerrymandered
• mappingsupport.com - See a map of your congressional district
• commoncause.org - Website home page
• fairvote.org - Website home page
• votersnotpoliticians.com - Website home page