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Opinion: Choosing who votes

By McKay Cunningham

When legislators redraw voting districts, voting is turned on its head. Instead of voters choosing their legislators, the legislators choose their voters. This process of redrawing electoral districts to benefit the legislators of one political party over another is called partisan gerrymandering. And both political parties do it.

The name “gerrymandering” derives from Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry, who in 1812 redrew an election district so grotesque and salamander-like as to coin the term.

Although politicians have been gerrymandering since at least the early 1800s, the practice has recently reached a fever pitch. In the 2016 elections for the House of Representatives, the average electoral margin of victory was 37.1 percent. Of 435 contests, a margin of 5 percent or less arose in only 17.

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