The Austin Chronicle

Politics Gift Guide

For the person who has everything but still could use another thing

By Richard Whittaker, December 2, 2011, News

Wish List: An Independent Redistricting Commission

Every 10 years, Texas goes through the trauma of political redistricting. On a good year, that means lawmakers come to a pleasant agreement about how every incumbent can keep their jobs without a general election fight. In a bad year – and they seem to be more regular – the party in power tries to gerrymander the whole state to its advantage. Hell, pretty much the only thing we reliably agree with our Repub­lican state Sen. Jeff Wentworth about is that the redistricting process is too precious and too open to abuse by greedy and vindictive legislators. His solution and the one we back? A truly independent redistricting body, like the California Citizens Redis­trict­ing Commission, to draw new, fair lines that comply with all laws and give everyone a fair shot at representation and election. Create it with enough legal safeguards, as they did in Arizona, and even the most heavy-handed and bullying of governors cannot derail this underpinning of the democratic system.

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