Redistricting 2020: Drawing Lines for Fair, Competitive Elections
Every 10 years, voting districts are redrawn following the census. Although the goal of redistricting is to maintain fair representation as populations change and move, the process can lead to gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is the dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible. This practice is common regardless of the party in power unless legislation establishes a non-partisan process. The League of Women Voters, both locally and statewide, is focused on encouraging legislation that will increase the fairness of voting districts in South Carolina following the upcoming 2020 census.
This is a nonpartisan effort. We have no interest in favoring one party or another.
We want more competitive elections, both in primary and general elections.
We want voters to feel that their votes count and that they can make a difference.
We want legislators to listen to all of their constituents since every vote will count.
We believe that restoring trust in government begins with trust in the electoral process.
Gerrymandering: In drawing voting district lines, districts can be manipulated to favor the party responsible for the lines. The primary approaches are called packing and cracking:
Packing: Districts artificially cluster one kind of voters into a single district, wasting many of their votes.
Cracking: Districts split groups of voters into such small minorities that their votes are insufficient to elect their favored candidate. This again wastes their votes.
The infographic below from Virginia Public Access Project illustrates different approaches to drawing district lines and their outcomes. Compact and fair districts are our goal since they represent voters best!
Dr. Holley Ulbrich, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina and a faculty member at Clemson University, was featured in our Spartanburg League's March 2018 meeting. She shared details about the redistricting process, what the state League is doing to impact it, and how local Leagues and individual citizens can get involved. The PowerPoint presentation she used is available on her local Clemson Area League site. Check it out!
Congressional districts and government legislative bodies should be apportioned substantially on population. We oppose partisan and racial gerrymandering that strips rights away from voters. Why it matters: Political and racial gerrymandering distorts and undermines representative democracy by allowing officials to select their voters rather than voters to elect their officials. When done for purposes of racial discrimination or to ensure the dominance of one political party, gerrymandering runs counter to equal voting rights for all eligible voters.
What we're doing: We promote transparent and accountable redistricting processes and to end hyper-partisan practices that don't benefit constituents. We believe responsibility for fair redistricting should be vested in an independent special commission, with membership that reflects the diversity of the unit of government. The League works in states across the country to pass ballot initiatives to institute independent redistricting commissions.