Column: In the hands of politicians, redistricting can be poisonous. The cure is an independent commission created by the legislature but not controlled by it.
In the hands of politicians, redistricting can be poisonous. The cure is an independent commission created by the legislature but not controlled by it.
It doesn’t always begin this way.
The last redistricting process ended in 2010 with nearly all Democrats and a lot of Republicans in the state House of Representatives. But after the Democratic-controlled legislature in 2012 redrew the lines, the Democrats picked up an additional 30 seats in the majority and had nearly full control.
Now the new commission in charge of redistricting will draw the lines for a new cycle that begins in next year’s legislative session, with the 2018 elections taking place in November of that year.
In this week’s issue there are lots of reasons to be concerned with the process, including the process itself and the role of money in the process. But there are also important reasons to support the independent commission. It is not the first independent commission to be created. The last one in the early 1970s worked. It is important to know that it worked.
The process is long and complicated and it involves a lot of money. The commission is required to have a bipartisan membership that can’t be a party. It also has a panel of 12 people.
The commission will be responsible for drawing the lines for each district (or “districts” as they call it) and for the congressional boundaries. The commission will have members from both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, but a majority will be chosen by the speaker of the House, and a minority by the president pro tempore of the Senate.
The commission will have 10 weeks to work its way through the process.
The commission has more time than other commissions
Other commissions begin their work early (e.g., the Citizens Redistricting Commission that drew Virginia’s districts for the 2015 congressional elections, the Virginia legislature’s districting commission of 2014 and 2017, and the Missouri congressional districts in