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The Mechanics
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Good Government/Reform Mon Nov 01 2010

A Documentary on the Practice of "Gerrymandering"

Bill Mundell is the executive producer for a documentary filmed called appropriately enough Gerrymandering. It's about the practice of drawing political districts with the intent of assuring a desired result, mainly for instance to insure that an incumbent will remain in office. Or to explain further to create a district that will allow the incumbent to remain in office.

Of course this also involves racial gerrymandering. For example there were several lawsuits in the '90s -- Shaw v. Reno (1993), Miller v. Johnson (1995), & Bush v. Vera (1996) -- about creating these "majority-minority" congressional districts mainly to insure that racial/ethnic minorities will have representation in the US House of Representatives. Or to ensure that the US House will have members of different racial or ethnic backgrounds representing districts that have a majority population of a racial or ethnic group.

Here in our state this issue will affect us. Soon the political districts, from the city wards to the county districts to the state legislative districts to the congressional districts, will be redrawn. Remember that the US Census was conducted this year. When it's time for redistricting, a lot of boundaries are going to change and there will be a consideration of many factors in drawing a district. The consideration might be of race/ethnicity, income, partisan affiliation to name a few factors that come to mind right now.

Remember that back during the height of the historic "Council Wars" in the mid 1980s, city wards were redrawn after a lawsuit to allow for more wards drawn to ensure representation for Blacks and Hispanics in Chicago.

Also, I believe when many were advocating for constitutional convention during the 2008 presidential election, there were those who were talking about how redistricting was done in this state. I'm sure many of them are still talking about that now that it's again time to redraw the various political maps of this state. However there are proposals to have computers redraw the political maps.

Either way, just know this issue is coming in the near future. Not only are we voting for legislators and congressman on Tuesday, but for alderman in February. When things settle down from those elections, many may well represent vastly different districts in the future.

 
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