- The US is becoming a country full of “democracy deserts”, where gerrymandering and voting restrictions are making voters powerless to make change.
- The integrity of Wisconsin’s electoral boundaries were among the worst in the nation, on par with Jordan, Bahrain and the Congo.
- Gerrymandering has allowed partisan legislators to ignore what voters really want, and experts fear it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
“The United States is becoming a land filled with “democracy deserts”, where gerrymandering and voting restrictions are making voters powerless to make change. And this round of redistricting could make things even worse.
Since 2012, the Electoral Integrity Project at Harvard University has studied the quality of elections worldwide. It has also issued biannual reports that grade US states, on a scale of 1 through 100. In its most recent study of the 2020 elections, the integrity of Wisconsin’s electoral boundaries earned a 23 – worst in the nation, on par with Jordan, Bahrain and the Congo.
Why is Wisconsin so bad? Consider that, among other things, it’s a swing-state that helped decide the 2016 election. Control the outcome in Wisconsin, and you could control the nation. But Wisconsin isn’t the only democracy desert. Alabama (31), North Carolina (32), Michigan (37), Ohio (33), Texas (35), Florida (37) and Georgia (39) scored only marginally higher. Nations that join them in the 30s include Hungary, Turkey and Syria.
Representative democracy has been broken for the past decade in places like Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida. When Republican lawmakers redistricted these states after the 2010 census, with the benefit of precise, granular voting data and the most sophisticated mapping software ever, they gerrymandered themselves into advantages that have held firm for the last decade – even when Democratic candidates win hundreds of thousands more statewide votes…”
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