Gerrymandering threatens the sanctity of our elections and the future to come

As hundreds of Metea seniors, and thousands of citizens nationwide, prepare to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, a group of Republicans in Maryland are likewise preparing, but not to vote; these disgruntled Republicans are preparing a case that could decide the fate of gerrymandering in the US.

For decades, gerrymandering has run rampant within our nation. Looking at congressional districts in Maryland, Wisconsin, and even in Illinois, the biased tampering is clear and frankly insulting to our fair democracy. Gerrymandering should always be a bipartisan issue, and according to the many congressmen and women in the US, it seemingly is. However, words of support have little value when time and time again both Democrats and Republicans redraw their state districts to effectively undermine the people they represent. There have been two major gerrymandering cases this year, one against Republicans and the other against Democrats, that both ended in the Supreme Court effectively shrugging and dismissing the cases. That makes one thing very clear: Gerrymandering is indeed a bipartisan issue, to us at least. To the US Congress, it’s only an issue when it doesn’t benefit their particular party.

Gerrymandering is the process of actively skewing votes through redistricting. Using tactics like gerrymandering allows states like Maryland to have nine of their ten seats completely in the hands of Democrats even though only 55% of the voters in the state are Democrats. Some may call this merely political strategy and fair game; however, gerrymandering offers a scary precedent of a country of people who, despite actively voting and staying politically active, do not have any chance at establishing change; in other words, an America where your vote really doesn’t matter.

With the midterms slowly creeping up on the US, both sides hardly want to give up their gerrymandered districts. To both parties, it means potentially losing or failing to gain control over the Congress in these midterms. This rampant fear has caused the case for the end of gerrymandering to become increasingly unlikely to take place. Despite so many members of our government speaking out against gerrymandering, with even the former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, formally condemning his state’s Democrats for their redistricting, little hope can be had for any change anytime soon.

This issue has become a completely unnecessary cold war between the Democrats and Republicans, a war of tiptoeing around the issue while they redistrict their state’s residents to the point where you can’t help but ask what the point is anymore. This issue isn’t hopeless, however. In order to get the necessary change done to our states and to take back our right to a fair vote from the clutches of partisan gerrymandering, the people of this nation as a whole must unite. Bipartisan redistricting has worked before and still works now. States like California have some of the most competitive elections due to their bipartisan redistricting commission. Commissions like these, however, aren’t objects we can only dream of getting or merely hope our congressmen will fix for us.

In order to actively reform this nation’s broken systems, those of us who can vote must do their jobs as civic citizens and fight for change. Yes, it’s important for your party to win, and yes, any reform to the redistricting process may mean your party’s loss, but it is our duty to protect our voting process so that in the future, our nation is fair.