This past March, I reported that the second most read post of the fifth year of the blog was WXYZ on redistricting reform. That examined the possibility of Michigan having a non-partisan commission take over redistricting from the state legislature. That initiative did not make it to the ballot this year, but the idea is still kicking around, as seen in North Carolina and Maryland challenge gerrymandering from PBS NewsHour.
Gerrymandering -- the practice of drawing districts to benefit one political party over another or to protect an incumbent -- has a long history in the U.S. Special Correspondent Jeff Greenfield reports on reform efforts in Maryland, where one district has been called a “broken-winged pterodactyl,” and in North Carolina, where litigation is challenging partisan redistricting.For another embed of this video as well as a summary and complete transcript, surf over the NewsHour page at PBS.org.
While both Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway, a Democrat, and Republican State Representative David Lewis of North Carolina think that independent commissions are too idealistic and completely non-partisan people don't exist, I'm on the side of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who wants an independent redistricting commission for his state. If its good enough for that Republican governor, it's good enough for Democrats and Republicans in states like Michigan. I think Arizona, California, Idaho, and Washington all have the right idea.