Green Introduces Legislation to Ban Mid-Decade Redistricting
March 2, 2004
Washington, DC - Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) has introduced legislation to prevent what has become a gross abuse of power in our current political climate, mid-decade Congressional redistricting. All members of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation joined Green in introducing this legislation.
The U.S. Constitution mandates that Congressional districts be drawn every ten years, following the decennial census. The Framers recognized that our growing country needed a mechanism to ensure that every constituent in the United States has fair representation in the House of Representatives, said Green. Redistricting enables states to account for new voters and ensure that their interests are represented.
Redistricting has become a highly political process in recent years. With the use of computer models, map-drawers can go house-by-house to maximize their partys advantage, often at the expense of communities of interest and minority voters. This method of redistricting can disenfranchise entire groups of voters.
We have seen cases in Colorado and Texas where state legislatures, prompted by national party leaders, have attempted to redraw Congressional lines mid-decade to increase their partisan advantage in the House of Representatives, added Green. This mid-decade redistricting is an unprecedented power-grab never imagined by our founding fathers.
These actions have damaged the ability of the parties to cooperate and effectively govern. Constituents are frustrated and confused by this process, leaving them less confident in their leaders and less inclined to be active participants. This type of partisan politicking undermines the strength of our democracy.
I have introduced legislation that limits redistricting so that it occurs only once each decade unless ordered by a State or Federal Court. This bill keeps us from going down the slippery slope of regular mid-decade redistricting, concluded Green. It preserves our democracy as the forefathers envisioned it.