Sunday, August 31, 2014
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Explainer: How Redistricting Can Shape Elections -- and What Happens When It Does

What's responsible for the extreme divide between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and to a lesser extent, in Trenton? Some political observers believe part of the problem is the way we draw legislative and congressional districts. These days, it seems politicians pick their voters, not the other way around, and the result has been very few competitive contests.

Explainer: How Redistricting Can Shape Elections -- and What Happens When It Does

What’s responsible for the extreme divide between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and to a lesser extent, in Trenton? Some political observers believe part of the problem is the way we draw legislative and congressional districts. These days, it seems politicians pick their voters, not the other way around, and the result has been very few competitive contests.

What it is (in theory)


Every 10 years following the U.S. Census, redistricting commissions or state legislatures throughout the country redraw the maps for their legislative and congressional districts to adjust for population shifts and comply with various U.S. Supreme Court and state court equal-representation decisions requiring that federal and state lawmakers should represent about the same number of voters.

What really happens

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