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Partisan Control of Redistricting Essay

Redistricting is forming new boundaries of the state due to population change which might have increased or reduced due to certain factors such as immigration and migration. A country or state decides to modify its current districts to try and balance the population. This helps in distribution of countries resources in a fair manner thus improving the countries welfare. Though redistricting helps the country to check on the welfare of its citizen it can be disadvantageous if used in the wrong manner.

It is evident that most districts of a country are formed by the legislators of the government and they may tend to use this opportunity to their advantage. A countries democracy can be affected by the Partisan redistricting process, it may be negatively or positively influenced since this process of redistricting can increase or decrease election competition. From the states where Partisan redistricting is evident most of the party members stay in power for a long period of time because they are always re-elected due to lack of competition, thus the Partisan control of redistricting is responsible for the uncompetitive nature of election.

As I explain my theory I will constantly refer to the state of America to base my argument because Partisan control of redistribution is highly evident and well displayed there. Partisan control of redistricting is highly influenced politically and the majority boundaries formed are created so as to benefit the legislators during the election time. The districts created are inhabited mostly by the supporters of the legislatures .

Therefore during the elections the legislators will have an advantage over any opposing force that may come up since he has the majority’s votes. For instance in America the majority of people who reside in one district is either republicans or Democrats. In such a case less opposing forces will rise thus contributing to uncompetitive elections. This is because even if more parties rise up they will all end up supporting the current incumbent therefore all campaigns will be geared into one direction and thus no competition in the elections will rise up.

This can be seen in the 2004 US elections where approximately 98% of the incumbents won back their seats and only 5% lost their seats to the opposition. In California many parties had come up but all ended up supporting the incumbent . There was not enough force to oppose him thus the elections were not competitive. In Indiana between 1992 and 2002 all the incumbents won back their 32 US seats . This is opposed to Abramowitz, Alexander and Gunning’s theory that the Parisian control of redistricting in America has not contributed to the uncompetitive nature of the elections.

They say that the Parisian redistricting has not affected the decreased the election competition but other factors such as geographical influences which include migration and immigration and lack of a good financial ground to carry out campaign effectively is what has caused the uncompetitive nature of the elections . Most of the district formed are inhabited by a majority of citizens who have the same preference on the party they support, thus are satisfied with their congress and legislative constitution.

Therefore none of them will have the need of electing another incumbent or forming opposing powers against the incumbent. This shows that there will be no competition during the campaign and thus the nature of uncompetitive elections is depicted. This can be proved by the gerrymandering theory, of legislatures using the redistricting process in their own favour to win elections . McDonald also supports my theory that redistricting has greatly contributed to uncompetitive nature of the elections.

He says that redistricting has born many people who support the incumbent and thus decrease the number of votes of the others who oppose the incumbent . Lack of competition at the lower levels of elections like the local election for councils is another factor that supports my argument that the Partisan control of redistricting has contributed to uncompetitive elections. There are limited electoral seats to be campaigned for and those present support the incumbent.

Thus no competition will be forthcoming and that is why most of the councils are re-elected back into their positions. In America the election of the councils is in fact the least competitive and no considerable attention is given to them since their outcome is always known to the extent that some of the council elections are not carried out. The Partisan control of redistricting influenced the inhabitants in a district to either be supporters of the Republican or Democrats. This has drawn a sharp line between districts.

Citizens in a certain district prefer to vote for the current incumbent because he is their preference rather than compete with to run him down and take his seat. They do this so as to maintain their reputation of being either Republican or Democrat supporters and do not vote according to their preference. In the long run there is minimal campaign competition in the district thus the overall reduction in the election competition . Schleicher wrote an article giving the dangers brought about by lack of competitive elections caused by the Parisian redistricting system.

I also tend to support him because the system harmed the democracy of the America state by ignoring the rights and wants of the minority voters such as creation of more job opportunities in the district are not recognized, this is because majority of the inhibitors of the districts have the same party preference and will not vote to get their wants fulfilled but will vote to retain the incumbent whom they support. Also reforming the district is a real nuisance since this initiative will not be supported by the voters as by reforming one will be changing the districts mechanism to retain the incumbent they want .

In Ohio many reform actions have come up but all have been shut down because it is either the republican or democrat leader who has the minority voter turnout who comes with the effort but is shun down by the other counterpart who has the most votes. For example in the year 2005 many organization came together and formed the Reform Ohio Now (RON) movement to reform Ohio. This movement constituted mainly Democrats and very few Republicans. The move was not welcomed by the voters since the present incumbent was a Republican and therefore the majority votes came from the Republican supporters .

To be able to increase election competition redistricting should be done putting into account the population of the district and the citizens needs so as to distribute the wealth of the country evenly and in a fair manner that considers everyone without considering which party or who they support. Also a new organization that will form the new districts should be elected and they should not be politically influenced or should not be linked with politics at all. This will enable fair districts which will exhibit high competition during the election to be formed, thus enabling democracy of a country or state to prevail.

The period in which redistricting is done should be extended to be a long period probably after ten years to prevent the boundaries of the districts being changed to suit the desires or preference of the person forming them. This will also in the long run create competition during elections as the inhibitors of the district will have known their preference and when voting will vote wisely to be represented by an incumbent who will listen to their woes and carry out his activities in a way that he will enable him to full fill his voter’s needs.

Word Count: 1272 Bibliography Abramowitz, Alan, Brad Alexander and Matthew Gunning. 2006. Don’t Blame Redistricting for Uncompetitive Elections. PS: Political Science and Politics 39 (January): 87-90 Butler, David, and Bruce . E. Cain. 1992. Congressional Redistricting: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives. Macmillan: New York. Jacobson, Gary . C. 2001. The Politics of Congressional Elections. Longman: New York. McDonald, Michael . P. 2004. A Comparative Analysis of U. S. State Redistricting Institutions. State Politics and Policy Quarterly.

Monmonier, Mark. 2001. Bushmanders and Bullwinkles: How Politicians Manupilate Electronic Maps and Census Data to Win Elections. University of Chicago Press: Chicago. New York Times. 2004. Elections With no Meaning. February 14, A-14. Owen, Guillermo, and Bernard N. Grofman, 1998. optimal partisan Gerrymandering. Political Geography Quarterly 7 (1): 5-22. Stonecash, Jeffrey . M. , Mark . D. Brewer and Mack . D. Mariani. 2003. Diverging Parties: Social Change, Realignment and Party Polarization. Westview Press: Boulder, CO.


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