Friday, January 25, 2013

One man, lots of votes

Elbridge Gerry, the governor of Massachusetts in 1812, signed a bill into law that redistricted his state so as to guarantee that his political party would have way more than its fair share of seats in the Legislature and in Congress.

One of those new districts looked more like a salamander than a legislative district and led to the term “gerrymandering.” The concept and the practice are not limited to the 1800s. Gerry’s is a system of one man worth lots of votes and another man not so many.

In the elections just past, gerrymandered congressional districts in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have allowed Republicans to retain a 33-seat majority in the U.S. House despite losing the popular vote to Democrats by an aggregate of 1.1 million votes. And while Gov. Gerry is long gone, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Pribus and his henchmen are seeking ways to use the same skewed districts to guarantee a Republican presidential victory in the Electoral College even if they come up millions of individual votes short.

In 1964, in the case known as Reynolds v. Sims, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the basic democratic concept of one person one vote. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Earl Warren said, “Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.” In other words, each citizen’s vote should count the same no matter for which party or candidate it is cast.

Let us hope for the good of the nation that the political establishment and the courts will put an end to today’s undemocratic gerrymandering tomfoolery. 

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2024 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.