Gerrymandering: It’s Time to End the Practice

Democracy means ensuring that our districts can’t be drawn by politicians seeking to choose their voters and game the system. I will fight to end this practice.

Voters should choose their representatives and be able to hold them accountable. But as long as politicians are drawing the lines of their districts, they will pick and choose voters to their own partisan advantage.

After the 2010 census, the district lines in my hometown of Holland were redrawn and I was gerrymandered out of my own district. I live in Holland, work in Holland, and worship in Holland. I minister to people in Holland and across the district, and my children go to school in both Zeeland and Holland. However, a small slice of the southern part of Holland was cut off and given to the 6th district and I now live two blocks outside the district. (No need to worry. Living two blocks outside of your district is not a disqualifier for Congress, as 5% of Congressional representatives are in a similar situation.)

The bigger point is this: This is no way to run a democracy.

Michiganders have already voted to put a stop to gerrymandering, which is the practice of drawing contorted, unnatural district lines as a way to favor or punish one political party over another. This is done by either packing geographic blocs of voters into one district, or so diluting their numbers in others, as to make their strength far less than it would otherwise be. Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed Proposal 18-2, amending the Michigan Constitution to move redistricting out of the Legislature and to a commission to end this practice.

I will bring the good judgment of Michigan voters to Congress.

I will fight discriminatory racial and partisan gerrymandering by ensuring that Congressional redistricting is conducted by independent, statewide commissions using fair and non-discriminatory redistricting rules. Our representatives deserve to be reelected for serving their communities well, not because they’re able to select whom they represent.