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Non-partisan election districts are a fantasy

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger headlined a rally Tuesday outside the U.S. Supreme Court as they seek to “terminate” the practice of political parties crafting congressional districts that unfairly benefit one party over another. (Jeff Barker/Baltimore Sun video)

In his July 4 commentary, “It’s up to states to end partisan gerrymandering,” Robert Giaimo and other business leaders make the case for states to adopt redistricting reform in light of the Supreme Court upholding partisan gerrymandering. However, many of the solutions redistricting reformers wish to implement are just as problematic as partisan gerrymandering.

Independent redistricting commissions are less accountable to voters and can also be used to advantage one political party over another. In “The Myth of Non-Partisan Districts,” the Capital Research Center showed that California’s independent redistricting commission produced results that over-represented Democrats and diminished Republican representation (relative to statewide vote proportions) more than openly partisan Republican redistricting hurt Democrats in Texas.

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Before charging into redistricting reform, policymakers should ensure the cure is not worse than the disease.

Michael Watson, Washington, D.C.

The writer is research director for the Capital Research Center.

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