Redistricting --

Last week's elections received the most press for the fact that Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, but those majorities could be turned around in two years. Perhaps the more lasting result comes in Republican control of state legislatures throughout the country. With the population shifts shown next month by the 2010 Census comes the decennial tradition of gerrymandering districts for electoral gain. In eight of the seventeen states expected to gain or lose Congressional seats (and thus be required to redraw district lines), Republicans enjoy total control of the branches involved in drawing new districts. In seven, power is divided between parties or given to a non-partisan commission. In just two states do Democrats wield the right to draw districts. One of those -- Massachusetts -- is unlikely to send many Republicans to Congress regardless of how the districts are drawn.

For Republicans, a good year in 2010 might have locked in a decade of electoral advantages.

Although not totally data-driven, the ReDistricting Game provides a dramatic example of the ways in which gerrymandering can give one party an electoral advantage unwarranted by the voters.
SSDAN Office

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