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house Bill H.R. 44

Should States Only Redistrict Once Per Census?

Argument in favor

Ensuring that legislative districts are only redrawn after the Census would protect redistricting processes from being manipulated for political gain through extreme partisan gerrymandering. This would protect voters’ interests and help ensure that congressional districts are competitive and representative.

Ken's Opinion
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01/21/2019
There are those that say that the natural proccess will work itself out. Our future of fair elections depends on fair geographical boundaries that don't promote division but promote an equal voice. If all are created equal then gerrymanding from any party is wrong.
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Wilson's Opinion
···
01/21/2019
Let’s be fair. Voting is meant to give people a voice. Gerrymandering undermines this process and allows minority opinions to dominate the rest of us. It needs to stop.
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Craig 's Opinion
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01/21/2019
In my opinion, States should only be redistricted when the census is done. In addition, it should be done by an impartial Agency.
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Argument opposed

Given that redistricting is costly, time-consuming, and sometimes politically contentious, it’s unlikely that most states will redraw district lines more than once per census. Additionally, given that this bill has already failed in two Congresses, there’s no reason to believe it’ll pass now.

Thomas's Opinion
···
01/21/2019
The concept is good, but it should be part of a bundle of more comprehensive points that take partisanship out of the mix. Non partisan commissions should have the responsibility to do all redistribution of voting districts. I don’t want a one per Census law used to lock in partisan gerrymandering for a decade at a time.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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01/21/2019
I understand what the bill is trying to get at, I just think it’s addressing the wrong problem. We could redistrict twice a month if the process was FAIR. Partisan gerrymandering is the issue. Address the issue directly. Redistricting should be a boring computational routine. Plug data in program. Program divides state populations evenly into compact polygonal districts that average six or fewer sides using k-means to get balanced centroidal power diagrams. Lo, Fair redistricting. No drama, no partisan politics. We just need the Supreme Court to find a metric by which to judge whether partisan gerrymandering is sufficient to deem maps unconstitutional. Then we can use computational approaches that are blind to political matters. And even if algorithms don't end up drawing the districts themselves, they could provide a standard against which districts are judged to see if gerrymandering has taken place.
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Jennifer 's Opinion
···
01/21/2019
Someone needs to inform the Congresswoman that we are NOT a DEMOCRACY...we remain a Constitutional Republic, that is until we lose it. When asked by a woman if we had a Monarchy or a Republic, Benjamin Franklin warned, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” We are on the brink of losing it. And it will be with the aid of uninformed elected officials such as this, that it will happen. 😪
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What is House Bill H.R. 44?

This bill, the Coretta Scott King Mid-Decade Redistricting Prohibition Act of 2019, would prohibit the states from carrying out more than one congressional redistricting following a decennial census and apportionment, unless they’re ordered by a court to do so for compliance with the Constitution or to enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This bill would apply to any congressional redistricting occuring after the 2020 census.

Impact

Voters; states; congressional districts; redistricting; political parties; and the VRA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 44

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) reintroduced this bill from the 114th Congress to prevent redistricting before the constitutionally prescribed time to do so:

“The need to safeguard our democracy—and the eternal principle of ‘one person, one vote’—is a sacred responsibility.  Unfortunately, it has been under assault from various directions, including those seeking to marginalize the electoral voice of our fellow citizens. As a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, the committee of jurisdiction for the Voting Rights Act, I am determined to ensure that the promise of our democracy is available to all.  This includes guaranteeing that our legislative districts are not drawn in the middle of the decade, so as to leverage undue partisan gain. This is why I introduced H.R. 44, the Coretta Scott King Mid-Decade Redistricting Prohibition Act of 2017, which would prevent redistricting before the constitutionally prescribed time to do so.”

Rep. Jackson Lee originally introduced this bill in the 113th Congress in 2013, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act that established the criteria for determining which state and local governments must clear voting rules changes with the federal government, based on their history of having an under-representation of minority voters. Based on that ruling, many Democrats have argued that the Court nullified the Voting Rights Act (VRA), and have called for ways to update the VRA and protect voters.

In the current Congress, this bill has no cosponsors. In the 114th Congress (2015-2016), it also had no cosponsors, but when Rep. Jackson Lee originally introduced this bill in the 113th Congress (2013-2014), it had four cosponsors, all of whom were Democrats.


Of NoteRedistricting — the process by which new congressional and state legislative boundaries are drawn — currently varies across states. According to Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution, states and their legislatures have primary authority in determining the “times, places, and manner” of congressional elections.

Most states are already required to draw new congressional district lines every 10 years, following the completion of the Census every 10 years. In 37 of those states, state legislatures are primarily responsible for redistricting; in four, independent commissions draw congressional district lines; and in two states, politician commissions draw the lines.

How districts are drawn can be massively impactful, influencing: who wins elections, the distribution of political power, communities’ representation, and laws’ passage (or failure). Thus, there’s a powerful incentive to manipulate district lines for political gain. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, from the nineties to now, there’s been an increase in the frequency and sophistication of these manipulations (which are known as gerrymanders).

When and how redistricting occurs has become a contentious issue in recent years, due to extreme partisan gerrymandering in a handful of states, most notably North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Maryland.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / YinYang)

AKA

Coretta Scott King Mid-Decade Redistricting Prohibition Act of 2019

Official Title

To prohibit States from carrying out more than one Congressional redistricting after a decennial census and apportionment.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019
    There are those that say that the natural proccess will work itself out. Our future of fair elections depends on fair geographical boundaries that don't promote division but promote an equal voice. If all are created equal then gerrymanding from any party is wrong.
    Like (126)
    Follow
    Share
    The concept is good, but it should be part of a bundle of more comprehensive points that take partisanship out of the mix. Non partisan commissions should have the responsibility to do all redistribution of voting districts. I don’t want a one per Census law used to lock in partisan gerrymandering for a decade at a time.
    Like (115)
    Follow
    Share
    Let’s be fair. Voting is meant to give people a voice. Gerrymandering undermines this process and allows minority opinions to dominate the rest of us. It needs to stop.
    Like (112)
    Follow
    Share
    In my opinion, States should only be redistricted when the census is done. In addition, it should be done by an impartial Agency.
    Like (89)
    Follow
    Share
    I understand what the bill is trying to get at, I just think it’s addressing the wrong problem. We could redistrict twice a month if the process was FAIR. Partisan gerrymandering is the issue. Address the issue directly. Redistricting should be a boring computational routine. Plug data in program. Program divides state populations evenly into compact polygonal districts that average six or fewer sides using k-means to get balanced centroidal power diagrams. Lo, Fair redistricting. No drama, no partisan politics. We just need the Supreme Court to find a metric by which to judge whether partisan gerrymandering is sufficient to deem maps unconstitutional. Then we can use computational approaches that are blind to political matters. And even if algorithms don't end up drawing the districts themselves, they could provide a standard against which districts are judged to see if gerrymandering has taken place.
    Like (72)
    Follow
    Share
    Someone needs to inform the Congresswoman that we are NOT a DEMOCRACY...we remain a Constitutional Republic, that is until we lose it. When asked by a woman if we had a Monarchy or a Republic, Benjamin Franklin warned, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” We are on the brink of losing it. And it will be with the aid of uninformed elected officials such as this, that it will happen. 😪
    Like (29)
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    Gerrymandering must stop
    Like (18)
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    OMG...... HERE GOES MORE DEMOCRATIC MANIPULATION AGAIN. Ensuring that legislative districts are only redrawn after the Census would protect redistricting processes from being manipulated for political gain through extreme partisan gerrymandering. This would protect voters’ interests and help ensure that congressional districts are competitive and representative. As another commentator has accurately stated, and I’m in full agreement with the fact that the Our Constitution already rules on that! Read It And Weep, Democrats, Read It And Weep SneakyPete......... 😲🤔🤔😲. 2^21^19.........
    Like (14)
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    Populations change all the time. People are moving out of cities into the burbs and there’s so much new development that ensuring districts are accurately drawn is important to do at least every 2-4 years. Our elected officials need to represent their actual constituents, not where the lines were drawn every 10 years. Yes there are problems with the redistricting process, but they are surmountable to ensure we avoid racist and gerrymandered districts.
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    This is another con job brewed up by Democrats to give them an obvious advantage and silence Republicans and conservative voices. The sponsor is a Democrat that’s all you need to see. The 2020 elections are the goal here with this bill. #MAGA #KeepAmericaGreat
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    Redistributing should only occur to carry out the true principle of democratic representation. Gerrymandering should be strictly prohibited and the Voting Rights Act should be reestablished to fight any attempt to do so. It should also fight efforts to disenfranchise legitimate voters seen as opposition to a dominant political party in charge.
    Like (9)
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    Redistricting should be done based on census data and for no other reason. It should ensure every vote counts and that the popular candidates actually win. Moreover, the Voting Rights Act should be restored in full.
    Like (7)
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    Wrong question. Redistricting needs to be restricted from political philosophy. Gerrymandering should be illegal.
    Like (7)
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    Quit gerrymandering!
    Like (6)
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    Stop redistricting and gerrymandering altogether.
    Like (6)
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    Our Constitution already rules on that!
    Like (5)
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    I understand what the bill is trying to get at, I just think it’s addressing the wrong problem. We could redistrict twice a month if the process was FAIR. Partisan gerrymandering is the issue. Address the issue directly. Redistricting should be a boring computational routine. Plug data in program. Program divides state populations evenly into compact polygonal districts that average six or fewer sides using k-means to get balanced centroidal power diagrams. Lo, Fair redistricting. No drama, no partisan politics. We just need the Supreme Court to deem partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional. Then we can use computational approaches that are blind to political matters. And even if algorithms don't end up drawing the districts themselves, they could provide a standard against which districts are judged to see if gerrymandering has taken place.
    Like (4)
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    If the numbers don’t work, change the math..... Stop redistricting altogether. Change how our entire Government functions, so that this archaic model does not exist anymore. Create a new model, based on ethics, in which corporations and wealthy people have no say in any part of Government. Design it to serve the middle class and all others will prosper because of it.
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    Directly address the issue of gerrymandering with something like a nonpartisan commission. This comes at the issue indirectly and could too easily be manipulated.
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    Yes, but this really should be a part of a broader package to protect the voting rights of all Americans. We need to enact same-day registration, automatic registration when you apply for a drivers’ license, early voting, etc.
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