Congressional Redistricting

If I were in charge of congressional redistricting, I would run the redistricting like the state of Iowa. Iowa has a unique approach to redistricting congressional districts. In 2011, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois redrew their congressional districts. Iowa’s looks fairest followed by Wisconsin, then by Illinois. To begin, Illinois’ boundaries are lopsided and do not represent an accurate or sweeping portrayal of the population which they are directed to represent. For example, the first congressional district in Illinois has neither “standing for” nor “acting for” representation. The district covers portions of urban Chicago and portions of suburban Chicago, while also encompassing various semi-rural areas. Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther, reflects only part of the demographic mix of the area. Furthermore, he does not represent those citizens in rural and suburban areas well since his interests and population bulk live in the city. Therefore, the people who are outweighed by the city voters have the advantage, politically and socially.

Illinois US Congressional District 1
Illinois US Congressional District 1

Wisconsin and Iowa have a better level of integrity in their redistricting policies. Wisconsin, though a small example, added an amendment to its redistricting bill in 2011. The amendment of the bill required two independent agencies to submit redistricting plans to the state for vote by the senate and the house. once the bills are presented, they must be quickly voted on. Iowa takes Wisconsin’s integrity and improves upon it. Not only does Iowa rely on independent agencies to redraw their boundaries, but they make sure (mainly through these agencies) “that political considerations and most other non population demographic criteria are excluded.” Since the independent agency (named the Legislative Service Bureau) regulates the boundaries before these borders come to a vote, they are informed, but not leaned toward, a certain political or population setup. Such impartiality is required when redistricting as to not give either political party an overwhelming advantage. Comparing the Illinois and Iowa mapping procedures is astounding. In conclusion, fairer line drawing and outside agencies need to take precedent in the redistricting process.

Cook, Ed. “A Nonpartisan Approach to Redistricting.” National Conference of State Legislatures. 16.2 (2002): 1-3. Web. 26 June 2014.
Illinois Redistricting. Illinois House of Representative Democrats, 2011. Web. 26 June 2014.
Iowa Legislature – About Redistricting. The Iowa Legislature, 2011. Web. 26 June 2014.
Welch, Susan, et al. Understanding American Government. 14th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2014. Print.
Wisconsin Legislature: Amendment ASA1-SB149. The Wisconsin Legislature, 2011. 26 June, 2014.