Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Election Results Show Need for Redistricting Reform

Now that the dust is beginning to settle from the November election, those poking into the numbers are finding some interesting things.

Of course it's obvious that President Obama and Senator Debbie Stabenow had big victories statewide in Michigan. They ran terrific campaigns with messages that resonated with the views of most voters.

And so did Democratic congressional candidates and Democratic candidates for the state House. Democratic candidates for Congress won 50 percent of the vote statewide. Yet at the end of the day, that translated into only 36 percent of the state's congressional seats, or 5 of the 14 seats.

In the state House races, Democratic candidates won 53 percent of the total vote cast statewide in those races. That earned them only 46 percent of the seats, or 51, of the 110 seats in the Michigan House.

How is it that the party that receives a minority of the votes for Congress and the Michigan House is able to walk away with most of the seats? It's called gerrymandering. The lines drawn for the congressional and state House seats by the Republicans in Lansing lumped Democratic voters into as few districts as possible.The result is districts that are nearly completely safe for the Republican Party. This robs voters of true choices at the ballot box.

A priority for the 2014 election cycle should be redistricting reform, creating a non-partisan way of re-drawing district lines that is less influenced by partisan politics and more focused on the voters' best interests.

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