California Part of “Dirty Dozen” on Redistricting

According to George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times, the Democratic Leadership Council has named California as being among twelve states whose gerrymandering of elections has suppressed voter turnout. The Democratic Leadership Council came to fame around the time Bill Clinton was running for office as an organization of moderate democrats promoting “the third way” between the two major parties. The Council makes the contention that by making elections forgone conclusions, gerrymandering has made voters stay home.

“There’s a direct correlation between the competitiveness of an election and turnout,” writes Marc Dunkelman, vice president of the Democratic Leadership Council, in a report titled “Gerrymandering the Vote: How a ‘Dirty Dozen’ States Suppress as Many as 9 Million Voters.”

The Council also said:

Dunkelman studied only gerrymandering of congressional districts nationwide, but the same principle of voter turnoff applies to legislative races. If contests aren’t competitive, he notes, the news media yawn, the public goes to sleep, and many people don’t bother to vote.

The Council made these calculations:

Figuring the average turnout in competitive races nationwide — those with victory margins under 10% — and applying it to all contests, the researcher calculated that gerrymandering suppressed 3.1 million potential votes in California. The vote total was about 8.9 million, or roughly 35% fewer than what might have been.

Correlation may not be causation, but the DLC makes a convincing case.

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