Mapmakers will have an advantage

Published 9:25 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

I don’t know how many of you watch the popular reality show Survivor. Today, there are lots of reality shows but Survivor is still quite intriguing. I know many people think that such shows are childish and a waste of time. While others believe that these shows are all about greed and money.  I cannot object to either opinion.  What I do know is that when watching Survivor I learned a lot about people.

The cast was thrown off of a boat and forced to swim to the shore of an island that had a rich history of pirates and treasures. Their challenge was to find the hidden treasure on the island. Each time they would win a challenge, they were rewarded with a piece of a treasure map which led them to a huge stash of survival supplies hidden somewhere on the island.

Currently, the Alabama Legislature is in the process of redrawing the maps for political offices for the rest of this decade.  If you care about fair representation, then you care about redistricting. This process ultimately affects who controls school boards, city councils, county offices, state legislatures, and Congress. In short, redistricting determines who wins elections. Furthermore, redistricting impacts what laws get passed and it determines who has voting power. Redistricting is a big deal!

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Redistricting boils down to one big question, who will draw the map? Those who draw the map will have a more direct impact on the next several election cycles than any campaign, candidate, or voter. You see, mapmakers have all the tools to make the map look the way they want it to appear.  There will be mapmakers who will argue that the lines they draw are in harmony with the requirements set by the Constitution.

If politicians are the mapmakers, there is an enormous temptation for them to use the redistricting process to hand pick their voters. If voters are to survive during this process, they must be the mapmakers. To survive the political island or landscape, voters must ask questions.

To eliminate political interests from the redistricting process, the Democratic plan proposes a non-partisan commission composed of eight appointees and one elected chairperson.

Ensure that you are represented fairly, control the game.  Meet with us this Friday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. tentatively set to be held at the St. James Hotel of Selma to share your thoughts and concerns about the redistricting process.