Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Response To Think Progess' Yglesias Post About Gerrymandering

I just discovered the Think Progess website. Here is my response to a recent post by a writer for the site (Yglesias):

I believe this article misses the point. The primary reason for getting rid of gerrymandering is not about making politics or government work better, it is about making sure each party receives its fair share of seats. A second reason for getting rid of gerrymandering is to prevent the artifical creation of “safe seats” for one particular party. Safe seats mean there is no competition among the parties. No competition among the parties means there is no accountibility to the voters because a politican in a safe seat knows that no matter what he/she does (within limits) he/she will keep getting re-elected again and again.

Gerrymandering is another example of why we need Single Transferable Vote (STV). No method of voting does a better of job of giving each political party its proportional share of seats. (Other than a "party list" system, which I doubt Americans are willing to adopt.) That's why it is called Proportional Representation!

STV eliminates any possiblity of gerrymandering when implemented in an at-large manner (for example, for city councils, county boards of supervisors, or school boards). STV also significantly minimizes any effect from attempted gerrymandering when used with multi-member districts (especially districts which elect 5 or more representatives), for example, for Congressional elections or the election of state legislators.

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