Gerrymandering and Redistricting Reform
For too long our elected officials in Georgia have engaged in the act of choosing their voters as opposed to having voters choose their legislators. Every 10 years a US Census is conducted to measure population shifts throughout the country and the 2020 Census is soon upon us. When this data is collected, states are required to redraw their voting district maps – a process called redistricting – to ensure equal representation.
Fair and equal representation will not take place under the current process. The Georgia Constitution grants the General Assembly the authority to draw legislative and congressional maps subject to a veto by the Governor. In that process, as well as in mid-decade attempts to “tweak” legislative boundaries, we have witnessed racial and political gerrymandering utilized by political parties to consolidate power at the expense of competitive elections and a healthy democracy. Both parties have been responsible for redistricting to protect incumbents and to keep their majorities. Both parties have created legislative boundaries without following any guidelines other than their own self-interest and as part of backroom deals.
With this historic Gubernatorial race, we the voters have an opportunity to demand that the next governor pledge to lead a process for a constitutional amendment that codifies the creation of an independent commission with enforceable guidelines, working in a transparent and non-partisan way to create new Redistricting maps for Georgia in 2021. If the Georgia General Assembly refuses to pass new legislation and/or a constitutional amendment then the new Governor should pledge to veto any new redistricting maps in 2021.