Redistricting Manipulation

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This brief study is made to enlighten the substance of the „one person, one vote” principle, the redistricting and the manipulation challenging it by reflecting on the strategy used in the Redistricting Game.

The “one person, one note” principle has been used as a slogan regarding elections for the promotion of universal suffrage and is best known in the United States of America from cases Wesberry v. Sanders, Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr decided by the Supreme Court.

Mission 1 of the Redistricting Game intended to show the foundation of redistricting. Initially the game makes the user choose a party and as the redistricting consultant of that party follow the Party Head’s instructions to help his/her party redraw the districts while ensuring population equality in the them.

Mission 4 concerned the Voting Rights Act that concentrates on ensuring fair minority representation in Congress. The task was to redraw the districts in a way that population equality was ensured while a new rep was added to the competition.

Coming up with a redistricting plan, it is important for the consultant to keep in mind that first the legislature votes and then the governor decides about the plan and finally, the state courts revise it. Making sure that each district in a state has virtually the same number of people in it while maintaining majority and excluding the possibility of the other party’s opposing by claiming that they or their base is shut out is difficult.

On the one hand, redistricting helps avoiding the disproportionality that occurs in the influence of voters in the different congressional districts, while on the other hand, it may give rise to manipulation. In my opinion this manipulation can be and is minimized by the practice of the state courts and the Supreme Court. Redistricting based on the population number appears to be fairer than a territory-based method since that entirely impairs the “one person, one vote” principle and causes a vote in a rural district to worth more than a vote in an urban one – provided that the population in the rural area is bigger.

 

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