Every 10 years there's a U.S. Census, and based on that census, different states will might get a few more representatives or a few less representatives, and so state legislatures will often have to redistrict. While these states take redistricting out of the hands of the entire legislature, the process is highly political, or partisan, and often results in gerrymandering districts. The purpose of gerrymandering is to grant one party power over another by creating districts that hold dense concentrations of voters who are favorable to their policies. "The process is marked by secrecy, self-dealing and backroom logrolling among elected officials. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In Davis v. Bandemer (1986), however, a plurality of the Supreme Court held that political gerrymanders could be found unconstitutional (under the equal protection clause) if the resulting electoral system “is arranged in a manner that will consistently degrade a voter’s or a group of voters’ influence in the political process as a whole.” A majority of the Court also agreed that the instance of gerrymandering before it did not display any of the “identifying characteristics of a nonjusticiable political question” that had been laid out in Baker v. Carr, including, as the Baker Court had put it, “a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it.” Although the majority in Bandemer could not agree on what standards should be used to adjudicate challenges to political gerrymanders, it refused to accept that none existed, declaring on that basis that “we decline to hold that such claims are never justiciable.”, In 2004, in Vieth v. Jubelirer, a plurality of the Court pointedly embraced what the Bandemer Court had declined to hold, on the grounds that “no judicially discernible and manageable standards for adjudicating political gerrymandering claims have emerged” since the Bandemer decision. Gerrymandering is when a political group tries to change a voting district to create a result that helps them or hurts the group who is against them. The four states that employ independent commissions are: Advisory commissions: Four states use and advisory commission consisting of a mix of legislators and non-legislators to draw up congressional maps that are then presented to the legislature for a vote. The states that use advisory commissions are: Politician commissions: Ten states create panels made up of state lawmakers and other elected officials to redraw their own legislative boundaries. Brian Duignan is a senior editor at Encyclopædia Britannica. Some states impanel special commissions. Racial gerrymandering…, …suppression is racial or partisan gerrymandering (the drawing of electoral districts by state legislatures in such a way as to dilute the voting power of members of a certain racial group or political party), though it does not specifically prevent any person from voting or registering to vote. A district or configuration of districts whose boundaries are very irregular due to gerrymandering. Redistricting must be completed in time for the 2012 elections. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The states that allow their legislatures to perform the redistricting are: Independent commissions: These apolitical panels are used in four states to redraw legislative districts. Although it does not prevent any person from voting or registering to vote, gerrymandering ensures that a targeted minority group or political party will be permanently underrepresented in a state legislature or in Congress relative to its absolute numbers in the state. The term "gerrymandering" was coined by a review of Massachusetts's redistricting maps of 1812 set by Governor Elbridge Gerry that was named because one of the districts looked like a salamander. ‘This is a government that blatantly indulged in open gerrymander, for example the re-allocation of defence force votes among surrounding marginal seats.’ ‘He said the Government's electoral reforms would create a gerrymander, where electoral boundaries are created to give one party an advantage.’ The program began with successful efforts to regain majorities in key states including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, and Wisconsin. He was running to represent his district and perceived to be a threat by the current district chair and effectively cut out of his district through gerrymandering preventing him from being able to represent that district. Gerrymandering, in U.S. politics, the practice of drawing the boundaries of electoral districts in a way that gives one political party an unfair advantage over its rivals (political or partisan gerrymandering) or that dilutes the voting power of members of ethnic or linguistic minority groups (racial gerrymandering). In 1963, in Gray v. Sanders, the Court first articulated the principle of “one person, one vote” in striking down Georgia’s county-based system for counting votes in Democratic primary elections for the office of U.S. senator. Gerrymandering is the act of altering political boundaries in order to give an unfair advantage to one political party or group of people. 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