Districting Process in the State Term Paper
- Length: 10 pages
- Sources: 10
- Subject: Government
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #27135557
Excerpt from Term Paper :
The incentives of engaging a meaningful and thorough campaign is thus reduced. The chances of influencing the results of elections are significantly reduced leading to the decrease in the level of voter turnout. The political campaigns are therefore less likely to devote resources towards the encouragement of voter turnout. The reduction in the level of competition leads to the candidate placing more efforts in the process of securing his or her party nomination for the given district as opposed to gaining of the approval of the electorate. In a state that has been gerrymandered, the contesting candidate is almost assured of an express win if nominated. An example in California is during the 2004 elections when the Californias 3rd congressional district was declared vacant subsequent to the running for the higher office by the Republican Congressman Doug Ose. The remaining three stronger republican congressional candidates then campaigned vigorously against each other for the remaining nomination in California's primary elections.
Several districts remained uncontested with no other Republican nominee presenting attempting even the slightest campaign efforts.
The increase of the level of incumbent advantages as well as cost of campaign
The effects of gerrymandering for the various incumbents is very advantageous since they are more likely to gain reelection under the favorable condition of gerrymandering. As an example, in the year 2002, the work of the scientists Thomas Man and Norman Orstein, only 4 challengers managed to defeat their incumbents in the U.S. congress, a record low in the history of modern America according to "Iowa's Redistricting Process: An Example of the Right Way to Draw Legislative Districts"
Incumbents are therefore moire likely to be individuals from the majority party who are orchestrating the vice of gerrymandering. This is a clear demonstration that gerrymandering can indeed have a deleterious effect on the existing principles of democratic accountability. This therefore leads to the feeling of offering fewer incentives for the incumbents for the uncompetitive seats. Gerrymandering has also been shown to have a great impact on the overall cost of campaigns. This is because should a district be too much stressed-out, then the candidates are forced to pay more to cover the cost of transportation as well as other expenses. The incumbent therefore gets an advantage.
It has been very difficult to outline effects of redistricting on states or other political regions, since the electoral outcomes solely depend upon the strategy and intentions of the drawers and constrains they face, either demographic or of any other nature.
A plan for redistricting can either be partisan or bipartisan. The former favors the majority and the latter neither the majority nor the minority. A plan therefore should preserve the minorities while having no major political impacts. And because the majority of parties are allowed to draw the lines for their respective houses, it diminishes the integrity of the electoral outcomes.
But that may not be the case since partisan redistricting maximizes the majority of seats by minimizing the electoral efficiency to the most permissible demographic possibility. This is made possible due to the inverse correlation between the level of partisan strength and reappointment gain for majority of the incumbents. Reforms are very necessary to overhaul the current system since it had been found out that lawmakers rig the system for their own favor. This can be augmented by the way the district legislative lines are drawn. The argument is that elected leaders choose their own constituencies instead of vice versa thereby severely limiting the legislative powers voters wield.
The feeling that redistricting plans are extremely uncompetitive, controlled by incumbents and oppressive to the minority means that such plans are always met with skeptical notations. And data show that incumbents are re elected at high rates in general elections. The numbers of competitive elections are reduced as the incumbents hold undue advantage over their opponents.
Redistricting can also interfere with the ideal size of voting blocks. Ideally, and this is not always the case, districts should have almost the same population size. But since the boundaries are subject to the opinion of the drawer, the lines are drawn in such a way that greatly undermines the principle of one person, one vote due to the difference in population size between the districts.
The process of restructuring the boundaries also gives undue advantage to the people with high stakes to choose the boundaries of their electorate. This conflict of interest ultimately robs the voters their right of choice; to choose their desired representatives. The fact that the governor controls the outcome of the reforms also diminishes the "good intention" of any redistricting plan. The governor must approve the plan good or bad and has the power to veto the lines if they are drawn in a manner he/she objects to. It really doesn't matter whether the new line are to the best interest of the voters. Legislators also have hard choices to make, they either work together with the governor to enact the much needed reforms or against him and the restructured boundaries vetoed.
Restructuring has also reduced competition in the race to Congress, and although not all incumbents are indiscriminately aided by the process since personal and idiosyncratic considerations will be important, the reappointment affects the electoral competition to the xtent which the plan interferes with geographical and personal idiosyncratic consideration which might distort the final outcome.
Partisan redistricting also changes the competitive nature of seats by increasing turn out in areas which favor a particular group and vice versa. This interferes with the voter distribution in the affected areas, though the results may not be so dramatic. Therefore if a combination of partisan redistricting and artful manipulation of inconveniently placed are used, the seat distribution can be uniquely altered and the parties more distributed.
Post redistricting electoral processes can, in most cases, bring forth some new incumbents who will still enjoy the same level of undue advantage as the former incumbents and so redistricting will not entirely eradicate the negative effects of incumbency. Redistricting also raises the information costs since a lot of resources are spent to broadcast the new changes, moreover, it interferes with turn out as more voters are most likely to abstain from House elections having cast the presidential ballot.
There is a need for the state of California to adopt the 2011…