Every 10 years following the federal census, all federal, state and local election district boundaries must be redrawn or revised. Redistricting begins when the new census data is delivered to the states. Redistricting is defined as the process of creating new congressional and state legislative district boundaries. The federal government requires that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity. That may be the law, but states don’t always follow the law to the letter.
This is certainly true as residents in the minority party of their respective states, as majority parties are making the redistricting decisions. Take Republican-led Georgia as an example. The Atlanta Journal Constitution points to state Republicans hoping to reverse the narrow Democratic majority in the U.S. House via redrawing Georgia congressional districts.
The AJC reports that the GOP sees redistricting as an opportunity to regain an advantage after Democrats won over an electorate that became more diverse with Black, Asian and Latino voters over the past 10 years. Georgia Republicans have control over redistricting in the General Assembly, where their majority gives them the power to create maps that add more conservative voters and shrink the number of liberals.
Republican redistricting efforts this fall could help reverse recent gains by Democrats who flipped the seats in north metro Atlanta through the election of African American Lucy McBath in 2018 and her re-election in 2020.
Ohio is another Republican-led state that is moving ahead with plans to reshape the state’s 99 House and 33 Senate districts of which Republicans hold majorities in both chambers.
The Dayton Daily News reported the Republican proposal for new district maps was adopted by the Ohio Redistricting Commission last week as working documents. Democratic opponents call the redistricting plans “unconstitutional gerrymandering.”
Why You Need to Know:
Once again, Americans are being made aware of the power of the vote and the census. If one does not register to vote, does not vote, nor participate in the census, one of the end results is the representative chickens coming home to roost. This “roosting” presents itself in the form of redistricting or gerrymandering by state legislators who retain their own power by drawing down or eliminating whatever power opponents once had.
Taking a look ahead to redistricting in the state of Republican-led Texas, Democrats can only shudder as the GOP redraw maps that will make re-election difficult for state Democrats who put the state in an unfavorable light during special legislative sessions and the recent passage of restrictive and suppressive bills.