Every state should have an independent redistricting commission, says Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.
Many observers say Illinois’ 4th Congressional District resembles a pair of ragged earmuffs. Intended to capture Chicago’s Latino population, the district carves out two roughly symmetrical disks in the heart of the city, connected by a narrow stretch of I-294.
The district is often cited as a blatant example of “gerrymandering” – but it’s legal. A federal court rejected a challenge to the district map in 2011. And districts that look like Illinois’ 4th Congressional District are increasingly common. With the help of proprietary programs such as Maptitude and access to household-level data, states can now draw districts to their liking with uncanny precision.
As one result, the number of competitive Congressional districts, according to the Cook Political Report, dropped from 164 in 1998 to just 90 in 2013.
“It’s gotten so bad that you could say politicians elect their voters, not the other way around,” says Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN).