Every election the gerrymander issue raises its head and breathes fire onto the political stage. The politicians all say pretty much the same things:
“We’ll have a Blue Ribbon Special Select Commission look into to that. Hrrrmphf, Hrrrmphf.”
Every time I think of that Blue Ribbon Special Select Commission, I think of what a prospective member would have to do to get appointed to the Blue Ribbon Special Select Commission.
Who would be their sponsor?
Why would they be sponsored?
The smoke-filled rooms produce more political Castratos, singing high-pitched arias for their sponsors.
And we get the same messes of a map.
The solution is to remove the Blue Ribbon Special Select Commissions, their backup singers and sponsors.
Have maps run for approval.
Most states have three map profiles in play for congresspeople, state senators, and state representatives.
Tools are available right now as part of most office suites to allow individuals to come up with their own maps. Clever uses of a spreadsheet and database systems can allow anyone with interest to create their own maps.
Population profiles of each town and census district are freely available from the U.S. Census.
In fact, after the 2010 Census a Republican Committeewoman from Allentown, Pennsylvania came up with a better map than what the Blue Ribbon Special Select Commission forced upon the people of Pennsylvania. It was called the Holt Maps (read here).
If Amanda Holt could do it, why can’t anyone?
Open up the idea of selecting the maps we want to use to all the voters. Vote on the maps by treating the maps like candidates for statewide offices.
If you, as a person, wanted to run for office you would circulate a petition to gather signatures so you could access the primary ballot. During the primary, you are in a playoff against other candidates to winnow the field for a general election that chooses the officeholder.
So why not treat maps like people, gathering signatures on a petition to get a map onto a primary ballot to start the election process where everyone would have access and a say? Post the maps on the State’s Website and publish in the newspapers for everyone to see. Take the top three maps from each category into the general election for final selections.
Offer a $50,000 prize to the author of the winning map as it would be cheaper than the long drawn-out court battles that are always a part of redistricting.
It beats listening to Blue Ribbon Special Select Commissions go, “Hrrrmphf, Hrrrmphf”.