Redistricting and Gerrymandering

League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County
Redistricting and Gerrymandering
Presented 20 March 2018
By David Leuthold, Elaine Blodgett, and Sharon Schneeberger

A. Why is redistricting in the news?
1. Census will be conducted in 2020, and most every governmental body that uses districts will draw new lines to insure equal population numbers.

B. Challenges to partisan gerrymandering now in the courts.
2. Pennsylvania –State supreme court drew new Congressional districts, Republicans objecting
3. Wisconsin—citizens challenged legislative districts, being decided by U.S. Supreme Ct
4. These cases involve partisan gerrymandering which is legal in most jurisdictions so far. GOP won numerous legislatures in 2010, and drew districts. Demos drew MD and IL.

C. Second type of gerrymandering has been racial gerrymandering, which was outlawed by 1965 Voting Rights Act. This had been a pattern of drawing district lines to dilute the representation of blacks. The Supreme Court’s solution required that states create majority-minority districts — districts in which the majority of the voting-age population belonged to a single minority. In MO and other states, GOP has facilitated partisan gerrymandering by creating majority-minority districts.

D. Third type of gerrymandering is unequal population. This was outlawed by Supreme Court in 1962, and the equal population requirement is now imposed on almost all districts in whatever jurisdiction. Original impetus was overrepresentation of rural areas. What difference did this redistricting make? Not much in Missouri legislature.

E. Who does/did the redistricting?
1. Legislative body redistricts itself –Columbia city council, Boone County commission;
2. Other legislative body redistricts—MO legislature draws congressional districts, drew plans that were invalidated by the courts in 1961, 1965 and 1971, were unable to agree in 1981, did agree in 1991 and in 2011. In 1982, MO voters rejected a constitutional amendment to use bi-partisan commission to draw congressional districts.
3. Judiciary draws districts—in MO if other bodies are unsuccessful; drew both MO House and MO Senate districts since 1991 when bi-partisan commissions did not agree
4. Bi-partisan commissions—began in MO in 1945, received 70% agreement for MO Senate districts in four efforts 1945 to 1971, failed to get 70% since 1981; successful for MO house in 1965 and 1981, not successful otherwise.
5. Clean Missouri petition proposes to create position of state demographer to draw legislative district maps, to be reviewed by a citizen commission. Petition needs more signatures to qualify, then majority vote in November, then survive court challenges.

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