Battles to Shape Maps, and Congress, Go to Courts

Michael Gianaris

October 27, 2011

The New York Times recently wrote an excellent piece on the the risks of gerrymandering and the rising legislation surrounding redistricting that calls for a more fair process that doesn't take partisan gerrymandering too far or ignore minority voters. Senator Gianaris' strong advocacy for independent redistricting reform is further supported in these arguments.

Republicans are largely driving the redistricting process this year, since their sweeping gains last November in state legislatures and governors’ mansions across the country gave them the power to unilaterally draw four times as many Congressional districts as the Democrats can. In many states, the Republicans are using that power to help them hold on to the dozens of seats they picked up from the Democrats in last year’s elections, often by tweaking their contours to add more Republican voters to those districts.

The newly drawn districts will probably not give the Republicans a net gain of many seats, according to a forecast by David Wasserman, the House editor of the Cook Political Report. But the changes will help them hold on to many of the gains they made last year by giving many swing districts now held by Republicans an extra cushion of Republican voters. “Republicans are shoring up dozens of otherwise vulnerable freshmen and endangered members — and that’s a huge advantage heading into 2012,” Mr. Wasserman said.

Read the full article here.