Redistricting without Gerrymandering

Two-Factor Districting



Section 3 of this amendment doesn’t amend any text (see The Dangers of Districts).

It doesn’t give Congress or state legislatures any new power, either. Statutes proposed

to correct gerrymandering often require expanding powers for one or the other.

And the same people Article I, Section 2's apportionment census counts for representation

will continue to be counted for representation. 

Why do we need redistricting factors in the Constitution? 


  • When the Constitution mandates them, the courts

       (see Redistricting and the Courts) can assure that only these factors are used

       and that they are used correctly.


  • Setting districting in the Constitution allows us to guard its uses in the Constitution, as well as its methods. Congress, the states, and the courts are hampered by limited Constitutional guidance.


Although we officially district by geography this functions more as a stand-in for a vested interest, party affiliation. When geography isn't sufficient to advantage the drafters' party, secondary factors ("tradition"?) creep in unevenly to distort the district map even more. Distortion of redistricting to unbalance legislative priorities is called gerrymandering, and it has become a critical problem.


While parties have their uses, they have no business turning redistricting into a tug-of-war. 


Section 3 is brief and simple but provides a complete clause for future generations. 

It's a process for the public's needs, the constitutional standard: instead of a redistricting process designed by legislators to help unbalance legislative priorities, it uses the redistricting process to prevent legislative priorities from being unbalanced. This is the most important consideration in districting.


If the Constitution is going to include districting at all (and it should), that's what it has to do.


There are three factors that make sense when used in districting: 

•    geography, 
•    economic level,
•    and party affiliation. 


This amendment doesn’t remove the geographic factor we're used to. Where people live affects real issues they have: city or country? blizzard or drought? But this must be the most general spatial division of population possible, avoiding imposing land or its features on population. And the clause adds a second factor that reduces the danger of using geography alone. 


Why do we need two factors?


Genuine two-factor districting, using economic level and location, solves more than one problem.

  • It balances the political power of economic levels
  • It reduces the power of party in our government
  • It cuts both the ability to gerrymander and its effectiveness 
  • It keeps the House's kind of power from being turned into the Senate's kind (see Leashing the Gerrymander).
  • It minimizes the effect of the size differences among states in an important way 


Because they cover both Congress and state governments, state political machines can become powerful. Within states dynasties can arise; in Congress, large states can vote as a bloc to dominate smaller ones. Adding a second factor that cuts across each state's delegation to Congress reduces this dramatically but leaves each state's Representatives able to vote together for those statewide concerns that do arise from size. It counters the one negative effect of increasing House size (see Frozen Apportionment): a greater difference in number of Representatives between large and small states.


What’s not allowed to Government is prohibited (Amendments IX and X). By not expressing or implying them, this amendment prohibits most of the factors in current semiofficial use, and it’s high time. Nothing should disturb redistricting by population, and districting factors should only be used as they divide actual population. The factors have been tightly vetted. For example, tradition is irrelevant because reapportionment is topical, done every ten years. Voting isn't an apportionment issue but has to be considered independently, so it can't be a districting factor. No safeguard for the weight of votes may unbalance apportionment factors (see The Representation Question).


Why economic level?


  • Economic level is the ideal second factor in this country

       because it also reduces inequality of representation by income. 


Some countries use party affiliation, and we already separate primaries by party. But Americans are questioning the harmful effects of partisanship. Open primaries instead of party primaries are a growing movement. We need to address partisanship’s effect on power. 

The highest income level is small but advantaged in Congress. Factoring in income levels holds the representation of income levels to the same percentages they have in reality.

Economic level is a useful factor.


  • Conforming district maps to the country’s general economic proportions consists with the Constitution because one of the main purposes of voting to ordain and establish government is economic self-interest.


  • Because each district will probably prefer to have a Representative of their own economic level, this may also increase economic diversity in the House (today most members are wealthy).

 

  • Some have called for economic redistribution measures to equalize power. But not only would restructuring an entire aspect of our economic system be a complex and difficult endeavor, easy to get catastrophically wrong and even if free of design flaws capable of severely damaging our economy while in transition, it wouldn't solve the problem. Economic inequality occurs in socialist and communist countries. No system can prevent it. There would always be some with more than others - and the effect of economic inequality on governance still wouldn't be addressed. 


  • Specifically limiting the impact of economic inequality on Congress, however, isn't all that difficult. Economic-level districting, coupled with public campaign financing and a prohibition on letting districting abridge anyone's access to government, prevents economic level from affecting several factors in Congress:  ​​
  1. which people in a district will be most able to influence their elected representatives 
  2. what legislation will be introduced as a result
  3. how hard members will fight for particular measures
  4. which districts will be stronger in setting terms of compromises
  5. what coalitions will form and what they will be able to do
  6. and by way of these, the priorities of what needs will be addressed, when, and how


  • Don't forget gerrymandering's influence on Presidential elections! Legislative districts affect who will be President as well, which affects how laws are executed and enforced. Administrative agencies are under the Executive. So is the Department of Justice. The effect of economic differences on administrative policy and on federal law enforcement, which also oversees state and local law enforcement, will balance much better with the three linked reforms of economic-level districting, public campaign financing and a prohibition on letting districting affect access to government.  
























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​​​Keeping representation

equal for all of us includes

keeping

economic levels from unbalancing it.


The factors we use to draw districts today don't.


In order to meet the Constitution's requirements we need factors that do. These do.




And just having another factor cuts across the size differences among states, reducing size's impact the right way, so we don't need frozen apportionment.

















A ten million dollar allocation for senior services and a ten billion dollar grant to a wealthy developer can take up about the same space in a newspaper or a Representative's newsletter. But one is 1,000 times the size of the other.

When one Representative represents all economic levels, it's easy to hide an effectiveness bias towards the upper levels. The Representative can be more effective in benefitting them while giving scraps to the other economic levels.


Officially dividing Representatives by economic level ensures that 

if one Representative is less effective than another the difference can't be hidden.    


​No other method is known that can address this problem.