Newswise — The gerrymandering of congressional districts by the party in power is drawing national attention, including Maryland. A professor at Salisbury University is supporting a position that would eliminate gerrymandering in a radical way, by eliminating congressional districts altogether: House members would be elected like U.S. senators, with statewide voting.
According to SU’s Dr. Michael O’Loughlin, such a strategy may move the country away from the single member district system and towards a more parliamentary, multi-member system. It may have the democratizing effect of opening up the political system away from the dominant two parties and towards a multi-party system.
Surprisingly, the Constitution doesn’t mandate congressional districts. In fact, at different times in U.S. history, several states had congressional representatives elected in statewide “general-ticket” voting, so the concept isn’t new.
In March the Supreme Court will hear a partisan gerrymandering case that challenges the constitutionality of a Maryland congressional district redrawn by the state's Democratic leaders after the 2010 census. The congressional district, Maryland’s 6th, had been represented by former Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., for 20 years. But after the district lines were redrawn, Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., won the seat. Republican voters who filed the case argue that Democratic leaders infringed upon their First Amendment rights in redrawing the district to ensure a Democrat would win the seat.
Cases like this would be eliminated with statewide voting; however, the Democratic and Republican parties are likely to dismiss the idea because it would threaten their dominance, O’Loughlin said. “An additional benefit would likely be a rise in voter participation because we would have more choices."
To speak to him call 410-543-6030 and ask for Richard Culver or Jason Rhodes.
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