Gerrymandering and what to do about it have been very popular topics on my blog lately. Two years ago, WXYZ on redistricting reform was the second most read post of blog year five and was the most read of all time for a month. Last year, PBS Newshour examines gerrymandering in Maryland and North Carolina ended the sixth year of this blog as the eleventh most read post of the year, rising as high as sixth on the all-time list. So I was excited to see two videos posted last week on this topic. The first was Gerrymandering: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).*
Lawmakers often reshape voting districts to shift the balance of political power. That's unfair to voters, even those of us with questionable judgment.Newsweek reviewed this segment, concluding with Oliver's solution.
Oliver suggests that instead of politicians, districts should be redrawn by independent commissions, a practice which some states have already begun to implement. In 37 states, districts are drawn by state legislators.As I've written in both of the previous popular entries on this topic, I'm in favor of this solution.
“There is something very important at stake here," Oliver says. "Lawmakers should not be allowed to dilute our votes by drawing their own lines and essentially picking their own voters.”
The same day, Vox posted The algorithm that could help end partisan gerrymandering, which could identify districts and maps that Oliver would find offensive.
We are living in the age of the algorithm. So why not apply data science to a decades old issue?I'm all in favor of applying science to problems, so I like this idea, too.
*John Oliver was the subject of the two top posts for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Oliver examining gerrymandering might just be an unstoppable combination. Here's to hoping his interest results in reform actually happening.