Every time that census data is released, the task at hand of many individuals across the country is to redesign legislative districts. The process can lead to questions of corruption when districts are drawn to reflect a desired outcome, which is a process known as gerrymandering. This process can be legally done and gotten away with under certain circumstances, but how has the “cracking” and “packing” of legislative districts gone on for so long?
The process of gerrymandering might seem as if it is simply a political tactic on the surface, however, it also severely suppressed voters who are affected by the process. The voters who have their voices minimized as they are grouped in ways that ensure their voice is not heard and the majority of voters force minorities into such low numbers of representation that they are unable to have their voices heard or have meaningful input into elections.
Gerrymandering is done in a way that tries to ensure that the boundaries of the congressional lines align with some sort of feature in the area. Although the shapes of the areas being represented can be unorthodox, they still often follow either county or city lines to ensure that these boundaries are legal. The idea of them being legal is very broad as they might not also be fair, but the process is done in a way that they are able to pass and be considered constitutional.
The uniqueness of the 2024 election cycle is that it will be complete with newly drawn districts as a result of the 2020 census. The cycle sees many states with predominantly one-party dominant districts which will pave the way for these districts to be easily won in 2024 even if there are significant differences statewide. The reasoning for this is that there will be election results that on a statewide basis look as if one party is dominating the state, however, due to the rural-urban divide then there will be large differences in polling numbers.
Gerrymandering is a process that has gone on in this country for decades and has been struck down by the Supreme Court several times. As mentioned earlier, there are ways around it, but will there ever be a way to fully stop gerrymandering and to ensure fair and even districting? Only time will tell.
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By: Zachary Akers, EKU graduate assistant