Since 1812, the term gerrymander has referred to the process of remapping a state’s districts unfairly. (Davis 1). Gerrymandering remaps a state’s districts in order to manipulate the political party advantage in any district the mappers want to (1). They do this by grouping up voters of a certain party in order to gain the voting advantage in the wanted district. The name gerrymander comes from a combination of the last name of the governor who signed in the first labeled gerrymander, Elbridge Gerry, and the word “mander”, after a salamander, because it was said by reporters that the district looked like a salamander (1).
Unfortunately for him, his plan did not work, and he lost the election (1). Many political leaders have taken on this unfair tactic as history has gone on. It gives anyone of the opposite opinion of the gerrymandered area’s party much less of a say when it comes to elections, and all it takes to be able to have the map in display is an equal population among the districts, and not intentionally using the races of the people living in an area to any extent, along with some state specific rules (Underhill 1). The process of gerrymandering provides an unfair advantage to whichever party has the power to redraw the map, so to make things more fair, it redistricting should only be done when there is input from both parties.Gerrymandering goes on all over the United States all the time.
One state that is known for their excessive use of it is North Carolina (Barbash 1). Very recently, Republican plans in North Carolina to gerrymander the districts to give themselves a massive advantage failed. Unfortunately for them, it is always a possibility for the federal court to reject the gerrymandered plan for the reason of it being unconstitutional, which happened in this case (1). In the redistricting process of this map, there were no Democrats involved, as told by Republican leaders in the North Carolina General Assembly (1). It was the basic case of an attempt to gain an advantage by one of the political parties, and it did not end well for the people behind it. Now there has to be a new map drawn, and hopefully there is a more fair approach taken to do so, like having input on the district shapes by both major political parties.
Another case of gerrymandering was done by Maryland to secure political advantage for the Democratic Party. Maryland has always leaned towards being a Democratic state, with advantages of up to 75% of the congressional seats, but that was not enough for them (Daley 2). In 2011, Eric Hawkins, who is “an analyst at NCEC services” was asked by the advantageous Democrats to give them even more of a lead, in which he successfully did (1). With this plan Hawkins came up with, they were even able to eliminate a two decade long Republican seat holder, and filled up seven of the eight seats (1). Hawkins was actually able to come up with an 8-0 district advantage to Democrats, but it was not used because it would result in running the Democratic voters a bit thinner throughout the districts, which would include more risk than the safer 7-1 approach (1). The plan, unlike the one in North Carolina, made it through and lead to the redistricting Democrats hoped for. Now Republicans, who did not have their opinions heard much in Maryland anyways, have even less of a say in what goes on (1).
If Republicans also had a say in the districting, maybe it would be more fair, but as long as the redistricting can be done and decided on by only one party, many people will always be upset by what the results of redistricting Voters in Maryland did not appreciate the unfair things that went on within their districts, and took it up with the federal court two times. Judge Paul Niemeyer is enraged by the wait needed to fix the districts (Mazie 1). He thinks since the evidence is clear that the maker of the map was definitely trying to give Democrats a massive edge over Republicans, it should be changed as soon as possible. (1). While Maryland and North Carolina tend to lean towards the said political parties that were given an advantage through gerrymandering already, there are some cases where gerrymandering can change a close race, like what was wanted to happened in Wisconsin (Li 1). The Republicans wanted an upper hand in the votes, so they took action and redrew the map to benefit them (1).
It did not go unnoticed though, and there were notes and evidence showing that the maps were drawn specifically to give them the wanted advantage. Just like a lot of gerrymandering cases, it led to an outrage and was taken to court (1). Finally in 2016, the court trial ruled the map as a partisan gerrymander, and they ruled that because of how it was likely going to result in the Republican domination of the districts (1). Sometimes districts get away with their gerrymandering schemes, like in Pennsylvania. A map drawn by Republicans way back in 2011 that may have gained them an advantage was recently being questioned on whether or not it’s constitutional or not. Democrats brought it up along with the North Carolina one in hopes that both would be redone, but this one was considered to be fair.
In a 2-1 vote, it was decided that the map in Pennsylvania is not unjust enough to be redone (Bond 1). Often times, gerrymandering is done by the officials because they want to protect their office, or to keep out a political official who in their eyes is a bad guy. While this is a big positive in the eyes of the office holder and all his or her voters, in reality, that is not a good enough reason to bend the districts.
There is no reason for all this gerrymandering to take place considering that it irritates everyone at some point. People will be happy when it positively affects their party, but on the larger scale, it negatively affects both parties just as often, so it should just be rid of to make things easier and to eliminate the worry of one’s opinion being blocked out because he or she wakes up one day with the district turned completely in favor of the opposite party. The districts should either be mapped solely based on the demographic population per area, or at least just have the opinions of people from more than just one of the political parties to ensure that everyone can have an opinion in any election they choose to participate in.