Gerrymandering is the practice of “dividing an area” into “political units” which ultimately helps one political party (Merriam-Webster). However, these divisions are typically unfair and leave one political party at a disadvantage. The philosophy behind gerrymandering is to not give an overwhelming amount of safe seats to the person who is probable to win, but to give the opponent a number of safe seats. While the person who is probable to win will still likely win, the playing field is leveled out (Ingraham). This philosophy is rarely practiced, and instead, Congressional districts are drawn always favoring the person likely to win.
Gerrymandering is also everchanging. Politicians are allowed to select their voters rather than the voters to choose their representatives because of state legislatures being able to redraw state boundaries after every 10 years. In addition to this, computer programs are able to obtain detailed information on a voter’s location and political preferences by “cracking” and “packing” (Short). Cracking refers to “diluting the voting power of the opposing party’s supporters across many districts” whereas packing is “concentrating the opposing party’s voting power in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts” (“Gerrymandering”). Furthermore, the Supreme Court allows this practice ruled by the 1986 court case “Thornburg vs. Gingles.”
This court case stopped seven new voting districts that helped minority voters in North Carolina. Instead of giving power to minorities, the ruling created districts where minority voters were concentrated, which supports the packing of voters. Unfortunately, ending gerrymandering or resolving these issues are not simple. There are several ways to prevent the extent of gerrymandering, but each solution lacks aspects that are critical to the voting process, such as recognizing minorities or taking geography into account (Short).
However, if there is a solution to gerrymandering, it could potentially create less extreme partisans and help the amount of diversity in Congress. Gerrymandering also makes elections less competitive and the people in these districts would be more connected to their representative, as there would be less of a cultural divide and would hopefully represent the minorities better as well. This would ensure both populations to be represented more equally than in previous elections and each person would feel as if he or she could make a difference within the federal government.