Redistricting: A Jobs Program for Elected Officials

Every ten years, after the census results are in, all the states draw new districts for electing members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their own legislators. In most states, the lines are drawn by the state legislators.

There is now so much data available about us, and such sophisticated data analysis capabilities, that legislators can draw districts that ensure their own re-election with near-perfect precision.

In Virginia in 2015, there were 140 races for state legislative seats. In those races, 122 incumbents ran for re-election. EVERY SINGLE INCUMBENT WON. Gerrymandering in Virginia has a 100% success rate.

Seventy-five percent of Virginians favor reforming the way districts are drawn. Reforms include requiring compact districts, banning considerations of incumbency, drawing lines along natural community borders like towns and counties, and creating an independent commission to draw the lines. Every year the reform bill dies in committee -- because legislators won't vote against their own self-interest, and they know they are safe from a re-election challenge because they drew the lines to make it so!

Educate yourself about this issue, write your state legislators, show up at hearings, lobby in person.

Redistricting Resources

Since state legislatures govern all redistricting, reform is a state-by-state effort. FairVote.org has some good maps showing the current status, and a lot of good statistics.

OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting is working on reform in Virginia.

Watch for additional links here.