Redistricting Trends Favor GOP: Why You Should Care

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"Redistricting is, for better or for worse, a lot of political jousting," said Erika L. Wood, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. "Both political parties want to do whatever they can to make sure they get as many voters as they can."

Wood advocates for a more open process that she said should not take place behind closed doors and would involve more input from the public.

Several states have independent commissions that draw up district lines.

In California, a ballot initiative in 2008 created the 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission that would be responsible for drawing up state legislative district lines. The commission would require nine votes to enact a plan, three each from Republicans, Democrats and third parties.

Proposition 20, another initiative on the ballot this year, would expand the commission's task to include congressional district boundaries.

Groups in Florida are pushing for a ballot initiative that would change the criteria for drawing district lines, with the criteria that districts reflect communities of interest.

But not everyone agrees that commissions are less partisan than state legislatures.

"The problem is no one has come up with the perfect way," Storey said. "Sometimes, they're called independent commissions. But they're not necessarily independent commissions. But they may actually be just as partisan as legislatures and, in fact, they are likely to go to legislation and they are likely to end up losing redistricting plans."

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