Your State Races Are the Key to Stopping Gerrymandered Redistricting

One of the reasons it takes a Blue Tsunami to flip an unpopular Republican House of Representatives is the incredible amount of gerrymandering at play to allow their party to hold power without a popular mandate. A form of voter suppression, gerrymandered redistricting happens every ten years at the state level.

Guess what? It’s been ten years.

Republicans have gotten extremely good at hanging onto power in places where they do not have the support of the majority of the populace. Donald Trump, like George W. Bush before him, took office despite not being chosen by a majority of Americans. He’s supported by a GOP-controlled Congress which — on gun control, health care and the environment — also fails to represent the overwhelming consensus among American citizens on these issues.

We’ve been warning unhappy constituents about voter suppression well in advance of the upcoming midterms, and it was not a misplaced worry. Republicans have become more blatant and shameless than ever before with their voter suppression efforts these last few weeks.

Among other things, potential voters from marginalized groups and with low incomes are more likely to experience direct efforts at voter disenfranchisement. Republican-controlled states may attempt to decrease polling station hours, reduce the number of locations, take away absentee and write-in ballot options and look for any excuse to block voters — from a change of address to a purged voter roll.

All of these tactics punish people who can only jump through so many hoops and shuffle so many responsibilities to cast their ballots. But gerrymandering and redistricting are major challenges, as they will impact the next decade of elections.

Republicans have figured out that state races are supremely important in the long term, as the decision to change the boundary lines of districts is typically left up to state legislatures — often requiring the approval of the governor. The more Republican governors and Republican-majority state houses there are at the close of midterm voting, the more states are vulnerable to gerrymandered redistricting. And this will only maximize Republican representation in future House races and increase the chance that a Republican popular minority can hang onto or win a House majority.

Yes, there are court challenges, but these move slowly — and don’t always land on the rights of voters. With Trump currently packing the courts with partisans — one of the few things this mostly do-nothing administration is prolific at — protection of citizens’ constitutional rights is becoming a less safe bet.

So it’s supremely important to pay attention to and vote in these crucial state races if you do not want to live permanently under a House of “Unrepresentatives,” with the billionaire Republican donor class calling the shots in every branch of government.

The Washington Post provides a map of all states with either a governor race, state legislative race or both – and more than half the states have at least one important race.

By the numbers, 87 of the country’s 99 state legislatures are up for reelection, and Republicans currently control 67 of the 99 — many in play during these midterms. In other words, this is more than likely happening where you live right now.

Unrepresentative redistricting has become a blatant GOP political strategy, so if you believe in fair representation, vote a straight Democratic ticket in your state races. It’s fine if the majority of the country votes Republican some portion of the time — after all, this is democratic.

But it’s an issue if the country is voting for a different party than is actually holding power more and more frequently. Even a conservative-leaning voter should be concerned about a party that is able to hold onto power with decreasing support of the people.

That is how democracies die.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

33 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad Andersonyesterday

Thank you.

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Frances G
Frances G8 days ago

tyfs

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Dan B
Dan Blossfeld8 days ago

Julie D.,
No sure what your post has to do with gerrymandering. Montana has a little over 1 million people and 1 representative in the House. California has almost 40 million and 53 representatives. Hence California has proportionally more representatives per population, specially 1/3 more per million people. Maybe that is how you got your 1/3, not 1/3 of a vote, but proportionally 1/3 more vote than the people in Montana. Should we reduce California's representation to equal that of Montana?

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Julie D
Julie D8 days ago

It is time to put an end to all of this bullshit! No need for gerrymandering/districting and redistricting or the Electoral College other than to corrupt and manipulate the vote. There is NO reason a person in California should have their vote counted as 1/3, while someone in Montana has their vote counted as a full vote. Is the person in California less of a citizen, have less rights, have less value? NO! No matter how much double speak goes on to try to justify this, there is NO justification. It is BS. No districting/gerrymandering, no Electoral College, one person, one EQAUL vote, winner by popular vote, period. That is the ONLY way to hold fair elections.

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W9 days ago

Tahnk you gor caring and sharing

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W9 days ago

Tahnk you gor caring and sharing

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W9 days ago

Tahnk you gor caring and sharing

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Glennis Whitney
Glennis W9 days ago

Tahnk you gor caring and sharing

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld9 days ago

Debbi W.,
Unlikely. Remember, it was the Democrats who started the whole gerrymandering process. Now they are upset that the Republicans have gotten the better of them with it. I fail to see how the Democrats would end a practice that benefits the party in power, if they regain that power.

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Debbi W
Debbi W9 days ago

Republicans are now very brazen about gerrymandering districts to Favor the Republicans, making it nearly impossible for democrats to win in many districts across the __country. Republican motto: If we can't win legitimately, then cheat and lie. It's taken them years to accomplish what is now in place. The only way to end it is to Vote for Democrats in your _local elections. They can end the gerrymandering.

Wesley S. is right. District voting lines must be non-partisan in order for our government to survive.

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