Why Do We Allow Gerrymandering?

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DigitalVision/Getty Images

Why do Americans allow gerrymandering to happen? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Bart Loews, Parenting, Programming, Fitness, on Quora:

The concept behind Gerrymandering is actually something necessary.

Demographic changes should be reflected within districts. Say you have an area that explodes in population between elections. It would make sense to break up that district so that the population is reflected properly in their elected representation.

The same thing would apply if an exodus occurs in a particular area, there’s no longer a need for two representatives in that area, so you expand the area covered by a single representative over the now depopulated area.

The problem is that the redistricting has been done manufactured like this because politicians are the only ones in power to do something about it. They’ve taken a look at how people have voted in those areas and shifted the lines to keep their office and get more of their ilk into office.

The najor reasons this has been allowed to happen are two fold:

  • People don’t even know it’s happening.
  • People don’t vote during the elections that get people that do this into office.

Congressional districts are controlled by state governments.

Voter turnout can get into the single digit percentages during local elections that get the people responsible for Gerrymandering into office. I’d wager most people don’t know who their local representative is to their state government and during the election, they don’t know who they’re voting for.

I’m not going to lie. I do vote in every election I could vote for (Yay! Good for me!). My shame was in the last local election I went into the voting booth, and there were a dozen names listed. I didn’t know any of them. I closed my eyes and picked a few names. I asked my wife later (she pays very close attention to these things), I, fortunately, chose the candidates with platforms I agree with.

It’s “easy” to vote in a presidential election. People get charged up for it. We’ve been inundated with propaganda from both sides and a dozen super PACs for a year now. We know what’s at stake. Local elections fly under the radar and very few people care, allowing the local politicians to run amok.

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