Election boundaries: No more packing or cracking | The Economist.
No more packing or cracking
California’s new way of drawing political maps could become the model for the rest of America
Jun 16th 2011 | LOS ANGELES
from the print edition
ONE lowly state senator from southern California, upon seeing the state’s new electoral maps and realising that no incumbent member of Congress currently lives in a district to be drawn around her home, spontaneously declared: “I’m in, I’m in, I’m in, I’m in,” and thus became a candidate for the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. Other state senators, assemblymen and US representatives were rather less effusive. Several suddenly found themselves sharing a district with political allies who may now become rivals, or facing a much less sympathetic electorate.
This chaos among California’s incumbent politicians is a good sign. For the new lines of 177 districts, released on June 10th and to be finalised by August 15th, were drawn, for the first time, by a genuinely independent commission of citizens, not by state legislators. The panel’s mandate is to make compact, contiguous districts that preserve natural “communities of interest” such as ethnic groups, and to ignore politics altogether. The commissioners do not even have voter-registration statistics or the addresses of incumbents. The revolutionary new idea is that, instead of politicians choosing their voters, voters should choose their representatives.
This marks a dramatic change in the history of American democracy. […]
Read the full arfticle here: The Economist