End Gerrymandering in Georgia

In Atlanta on November 20, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Tune in tonight at 8 P.M. ET on CNN in order to understand “Gerry-Rigged: Why your vote for Congress might not matter.” In the process, begin to appreciate why Georgia is less than Iowa, and an estimated 19 other states, in terms of welcoming “Gerry-Rigged” elections (Polk, 2011).

Afterward, enjoy Charles Bullock, political science professor at the University of Georgia, warning us, “Redistricting is the most nakedly partisan activity in American politics. The decennial activity of allocating political power results in conflict among regional, partisan, racial, and ethnic communities of interest. Political science research generally acknowledges that when one party completely controls the redistricting process it will perpetuate its majority even if doing so unfairly disadvantages the minority party” (Bullock & Gaddie, 2007).

Then enjoy William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, warning us regarding Georgia’s recent elections, “54 of Georgia’s 56 senate districts didn’t have competitive elections due to incumbency or party dominance. Thirty-three of those districts only had one name on the ballot. In business, competition is good for consumers. Likewise in politics, competition is good for voters” (Perry, 2011).

According to Mr. Bullock’s prescription, “Tendencies toward political excess are most likely to be deterred when redistricting is done by (1) a non-partisan commission; (2) a divided government, forcing bipartisan cooperation; or (3) the judiciary, working with third-party, neutral mapmakers to check majority excesses.”

According to Mr. Perry, “The solution is an independent redistricting commission — enter the grown-ups. Like children squabbling during a car ride, the politicians bicker while drawing their own districts. We need people to create the maps who: are not current members of the General Assembly; don’t have interests in drawing specific district lines; and use nonpartisan criteria from which to draw them.”

In recent Georgia political history, Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes has enjoyed the gerrymandering process just as much so as Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, currently representing the state (Bullock & Gaddie, 2007). For further reading, read “Redistricting plan boots John Barrow from Savannah,” published by the Savannah Morning News August 22, 2011, and Gov. Deal’s rejection response to the League of Women Voters/AJC, published in the 2010 Georgia Voter Guide prior to the previous election.


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