Independent Voter Network, 23 February 2015
Redistricting has been a contentious process since the early 1800s, when Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a bill that reshaped electoral districts in Massachusetts to benefit the Democratic-Republicans. This manipulation of the redistricting process was nicknamed a Gerry-Mander, partially after Governor Gerry, and partially after the shape of one of the Boston districts, which resembled a salamander.
The practice, now commonly referred to as gerrymandering, presents a challenge to the U.S.’s republican system, where representatives are supposed to represent all of the voters in a given district. In an attempt to curb the practice, 9 states have already implemented independent redistricting commissions designed to make the redistricting process fairer and more representative of a population. Additionally,13 states use a hybrid method involving more than one government branch or agency working together to draw district lines.
Phi Beta Iota: Honest tightly-drawn districts are one of eight aspects of electoral reform. All eight are required, together, if one is to elect and keep honest a representative government.