The problem of gerrymandering has everything to do with human influence in re-drawing a State’s districts, after every census. Whatever party is in power in that State’s legislature (per the current rules of the vast majority of State legislatures) gets to decide who re-draws them, and how.
And they will do so in one of two ways, called “Stacking,” and “Cracking” – which essentially draws districts so that they clump together or break apart groups that traditionally vote a certain way, with the goal of ensuring that the party in power always has a distinct advantage in as many districts as possible.
For instance, let’s say a particular city tends to vote heavily for ‘Party A.’ If ‘Party B’ is in power in the State Legislature, they will “Crack” that city’s block of voters apart by re-drawing a district boundary in a meandering line through the middle of that city, and manipulate the boundaries to include their known supporters in the outlying areas, so that both districts have an overwhelming chance of supporting Party B.
The opposite (and equally effective) version of this is “Stacking.” It’s the practice of pooling all of the opposing party’s voters into a single district, and take them away from the multiple surrounding districts that the party wants to control. Let’s say that Party B is still in power, and gets to re-draw the district lines – same scenario as before, basically – Party B’s goal in this case is to re-draw the district lines to exclude all of Party A’s voters from as many surrounding districts as possible, so that Party B has a distinct advantage in all of those other districts. Sure, there will be a few districts that vote overwhelmingly for Party A (because that’s where all their voters technically are now, even though they haven’t moved an inch) – but ALL the surrounding districts will be a majority of Party B voters.
Between the use of “Cracking” and “Stacking,” Party B can easily control mulitple districts for every one district that they allow Party A to control – even if the voters for Party A outnumber the voters for Party B. And it’s not overly difficult to do. We’ve seen it actually happen over the past few decades. And BOTH parties are guilty of doing it. The result is that whichever party is in control can concentrate the power of their own voters, and thin out the power of the other party’s voters. This fundamentally weakens the power of every single vote. And – this is done intentionally. They WANT your vote to not matter – so long as it means their party gets to stay in power. It’s cheating your vote. Plain and simple.
THEY ARE INTENTIONALLY MAKING YOUR VOTE NOT COUNT.
There are two possible solutions to this perversion of Democracy:
1.) We can convert our Congresional Representative elections to being “Ranked Choice” elections, where delineated districts are done away with entirely (thus solving the gerrymandering problem). The basic idea is that each State retains the same number of Representatives, but they are elected on an ‘at-large’ basis. Each voter chooses their top two (or three) favorite candidates to represent the State. Then, multiple candidates are elected at the same time, based on how many aggregate votes they recieve. For instance, if a State has five Reps, then the top five candidates who receive the most overall votes will all get elected. It’s a great idea, in principle. It really is. And it has a lot of traction already. But there’s a problem with this method: neither Congress nor the two major parties would ever allow this to pass. Gerrymandering is one of the primary ways that they keep themselves in power, and this method greatly opens up elections to 3rd party candidates. Which they absolutely don’t want. It’s against their best interests to allow this to happen, so it will most likely fail on the floor of Congress.
2.) We can create a super-secure computer program to do the district re-mapping for us. …We can rebuild our voting system. We have the technology! We can make it better than it is! (ha) But pop-culture movie references aside, this solution is fairly simple. It is not at all difficult to create a computer program that re-groups new districts based on the shortest possible radial distance between district boundaries, which fulfills the 750,000 population requirement for each U.S. district, and terminates at the boundaries of each adjacent district, and any adjacent State lines. The algorithm simply finds a solution based purely on land-area which evenly divides the population, so that voter-demographic history becomes irrelevant, and all votes become truly equal. No more human influence by whichever party is in power, so there can be no human bias. And this is also much more likely to actually pass Congress, because it will be seen by the two parties as a ‘fair distribution of votes,’ to be shared between them.
Some of you might be asking – well what about computer hacking, or electronic manipulation? Well, that’s simple too – whatever computer is chosen to re-group districts just has to be completely disconnected from any and all networks, in order to be incorruptible, and hacker-free (the computer-savvy anong you will know this as being “air-gapped.” Literally no connection – wired or wireless – to any other electronic device. The computer simply runs it’s re-districting program, the results are printed out, and the districts re-drawn accordingly. Simple. NO human bias. Period.