Redistricting occurs after the decennial census has been taken and may create more balanced representation, competitive representation, and population variation within a single district. However, this can and often does take the opportunity to lock areas into fixed gerrymandered districts that grant substantial benefits to one party over the other. In Extreme Maps, the authors focus on a particular type of gerrymandering that gives one party an extremely high number of seats that does not match statewide elections results. Gerrymandering to lock in a disproportional number of seats with aggressive maneuvers that result in tangled maps is on the rise due to technology and the increase of money flooding into political campaigns. Although the report focuses on disproportional seating, there are other ways gerrymandering can do damage. It can also give an advantage to incumbent candidate and decrease the changes that a wide variety of concerns from constituents are heard. The report also found that the states with the highest amount of partisan bias are historically battleground states, excluding Texas.
States with the highest amount of partisan bias are those:
- In which one political party was responsible for redrawing district lines
- With districts not drawn by nonpartisan commissions, courts, or divided government.
In Pennsylvania, state legislators are responsible for redistricting and the current district lines strongly reflect partisan bias. If you are interested in learning more about how Gerrymandering affects us as Pennsylvanians, advocacy groups like Fair Districts PA provide interactive maps to view your district, ways to contact your legislator to learn about positions, and opportunities to take part in rallies and events.