Mid-Decade Redistricting, Abuse of Power
June 3, 2004
Washington, DC - In recent years, redistricting has become a highly political process. 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. Furthermore, Texas and Colorado State Legislatures have now taken up mid-decade redistricting to maximize a partisan agenda.
To further prevent further mid-decade Congressional redistricting and what has become a gross abuse of power in our current political climate, Congressman Gene Green (D-Houston) introduced legislation that limits redistricting to once a decade. 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.
In a recent Op-ed in the Los Angles Times, University of Texas Constitutional Law Professor Mitchell Berman agreed that partisan gerrymandering needs to be addressed by the high court and the Texas Redistricting case has given the Supreme Court the chance to carve out just the kind of manageable judicial standard that the court says it has been looking for.
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, concluded Green. I have introduced legislation that limits redistricting to preserves our democracy as the forefathers envisioned it.
**Attached is copy of Greens legislation.