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Now is the time to create an Independent Redistricting Commission

Submitted by: Frank Sims

The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that electoral districts be periodically adjusted or redrawn to account for population shifts among them.

Every 10 years, following the release of new census data, legislative districts are adjusted by each State to reflect updated population numbers so that districts remain of relatively equal population.

If the redistricting is done by political insiders with no public input, the result is new district boundaries that are meant to protect the interests of incumbents and their political parties rather than the citizens they represent. This attempt to hold on to power creates an obvious conflict of interest. It has led to gerrymandered redistricting maps, collusion among the major political parties to create safe legislative districts and the packing and splitting of concentrations of voters. All of this weakens or strengthens the influence of one party or another or one or more politicians when they gain an unfair partisan advantage. Unfortunately, the public often is not aware of this impact and typically plays a minor role in redistricting.

We strongly believe that redistricting decisions must be removed from the current partisan legislative process to make our votes truly count. In this effort we support Senator Blevins Senate Bill 20. This bill creates a Nonpartisan Independent Redistricting Commission that replaces current partisan, insider, closed to the public process.

The Independent Redistricting Commission will be comprised of 10 appointed members and a non voting Chairman elected by the members. No Commission member shall hold elected office, be a registered lobbyist, be permitted to run for the General Assembly in the year following redistricting, be an elected official or officer of a state political party or have been an elected official within two years of his or her appointment to the commission. A member must be a resident of the State and a qualified voter. All meetings shall be open to the public with 7 days notice and subject to the provisions of the FIOA and the Administrative Procedures Act. All work shall be done in public view. Please visit the Legislative web site for more detailed information on Senate Bill 20.

For the sake of our democracy, it is imperative we strive to create legislative districts that are representative of the population and districting plans that result in more competitive legislative elections.

So, we hope you will join us and the Delaware League of Women Voters and support our effort in the coming months as we push for an independent commission and other steps necessary to ensure the redistricting process is fair and open.

Please visit www.ReDistrictinggame.org/

Frank Sims


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