States See Growing Campaign to Change Redistricting Laws

States See Growing Campaign to Change Redistricting Laws -...

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February 7, 2005 The New York Times States See Growing Campaign to Change Redistricting Laws By ADAM NAGOURNEY WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 - The politically charged methods that states use to draw Congressional districts are under attack by citizens groups, state legislators and the governor of California, all of whom are concerned that increasingly sophisticated map-drawing has created a class of entrenched incumbents, stifled electoral competition and caused governmental gridlock. Largely uncoordinated campaigns stretching from California to Massachusetts are pushing to end, or at least minimize, a time-honored staple of American politics: lawmakers drawing Congressional and legislative district maps in geographically convoluted ways to ensure the re-election of an incumbent or the dominance of a party. Last month, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, a state that has historically been at the forefront of political reform movements, proposed putting retired judges in charge of redistricting, taking it out of the hands of the Legislature. Common Cause, one of the nonpartisan groups championing changes in the system, said campaigns to overhaul redistricting were under way in at least eight states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The increased attention to the issue is in part due to the effectiveness of efforts in 2003 in Texas, where Republicans, with the backing of the White House, forced through a midterm redistricting that effectively cost four Texas Democrats their seats. The complaints are also spurred by the way computers and the enormous amount of available voting data have turned redistricting into a surgically precise procedure and opened up to anyone with a laptop what was once dominated by legislative tacticians with decades of knowledge. "You cannot believe the number of people and organizations across the country that are focusing on this redistricting issue," said Bruce E. Cain, an expert on redistricting and director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. "It seems like it's poised to become, for the reform community, the equivalent of McCain-Feingold," the bill that overhauled the campaign finance system.
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This test prep was uploaded on 04/04/2008 for the course PS 123 taught by Professor Lane during the Fall '07 term at Saginaw Valley.

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States See Growing Campaign to Change Redistricting Laws -...

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