Hello and welcome to Learning the Law, a podcast about all things legal with a focus on current events where we try and teach you things in an hour. My name is Ashley, aka PhoenixNymphy and my co-host who is the man of the hour, my husband Ron. This podcast is purely educational and should not be taken as legal advice, this podcast does not create an attorney-client relationship, this podcast is based on his interpretation of relevant law. Any opinions expressed are the opinions of the individual making them and do not reflect the opinions of any firm, company or other individuals. Ron is a licensed practicing attorney in the state of California.
- Our Weeks
- Questions from the audience
- Topic of the week – Gerrymandering
- What is Gerrymandering?
To gerrymander is to manipulate the boundaries of an election district so as to advantage one party.
- How do the districts get redrawn?
Every 10 years, based on the new census data, districts in each state get redrawn.In the majority of states, the redrawing of district boundaries is in the power of the state legislature. In these states, there will be gerrymandering. In New York, the lawmakers and governor signed off district maps in 2012 that, said the New York Times, “were carefully designed to keep the legislators safely in their jobs.” In Florida earlier this year, a judge ruled that the Republicans had illegally redrawn the state’s congressional districts in a way that “made a mockery” of fairness and ordered two districts to be redrawn. In an extreme example, in North Carolina in 2012 the Democrats won 51 percent of the House vote but only four of thirteen representatives.
- What is the effect?
The effect of gerrymandering is to dilute the votes of those that the party in power does not want to see. This is one reason why people believe their vote does not count. This in turn leads to low voter turnout. When the turnout is low, it is the motivated voter groups that get to push their agendas in government.
- Are there any solutions?
Reform would therefore depend on Congress imposing a fair method of redistricting on the states. My recommendation would be a federal law with three main components: a set of rules and principles for the drawing of district borders, nonpartisan redistricting commissions in each state, and a federal commission of oversight that would also serve as the institution of appeal.
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Thank you so much for listening to Learning the Law. If you liked this podcast and want to hear more, don’t forget to like, subscribe, follow, and share in all your favorite places. You can find it hosted on twitch at twitch.tv/phoenixnymphy use the hashtag #learningthelaw on tiktok to follow more there. You can find Ron on twitter at Necrokijo and Ashley on most social media platforms at PhoenixNymphy. If you have any questions please tweet, comment, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This has been a Two Lazy Dogs production.