Dear Editor: A member of the Georgia House recently asked a constituent this question: “What’s wrong with the system of redistricting Georgia’s electoral districts?”
Here’s the answer.
Georgia’s redistricting system is broken in three ways: (1) The maps are drawn in secret by the leadership of a particular political party; (2) other than numerical requirements for population and a vague requirement for contiguity, Georgia has no standards for the features of districts; and (3) political parties have come to see the districts as belonging to them rather than to the people and communities within those districts. Districts are drawn and re-drawn to protect (or punish) incumbents.
The people of Georgia have no role in this system. We don’t know what’s going on; we have no voice in the design and features of the districts. We and our communities are assigned to particular politicians without thought about anything other than the good of politicians and their party. This situation is eroding trust between citizens and elected leaders. When we lose trust, we question everything. We question the fairness of districts, elections, voting, and the laws that get passed. Trust is the glue that holds our democracy together.
Maps will be drawn after the 2020 census. Tell your state representatives that it's time for Georgia to have an independent citizens’ commission draw legislative districts, not politicians.