What The “Gerrymandering” Case In Wisconsin Will Mean To Montana
The Supreme Court of the United States will be hearing a case regarding gerrymandering in the state of Wisconsin.
The Democrat voters of Wisconsin are bringing a discrimination suit based on the drawing of the map of congressional districts in that state that gave Republicans more seats than had been predicted.
What Is Gerrymandering?
The first question you might ask is, “What is gerrymandering?”
Gerrymandering is the drawing or redrawing of boundaries of congressional districts, usually under the direction of the party in power to give that ruling party an advantage in the next election.
The court will consider a fair and equitable efficiency gap, or in other words, what percentage of a gerrymandering advantage is permissible.
Gerrymandering Goal Is Wasted Votes
The idea of gerrymandering is to try to force the opposition party to “waste” votes.
There are two kinds of votes that are considered wasted. One, all the votes over what is necessary to win the district are wasted and, two, all the votes for the losing candidate are considered wasted.
If it takes 50,000 votes to elect a candidate in a district then any votes over that number are considered wasted votes.
You could think of the Electoral College as gerrymandering. Hillary Clinton got 3 million wasted votes in areas that didn’t have any effect on the Electoral College state count, or the 270 Electoral Votes needed to win the presidency.
Spread those 3 million votes more evenly across the country by redrawing the state boundaries and she would’ve won.
In a simplified way, gerrymandering is the states equivalent of the Electoral College. The more votes you can force your opposition to waste in one or more districts the better it is for your party and your candidate.
What Will The Supreme Court Be Looking For?
Gerrymandering has been around almost as long as elections have been held. What the Supreme Court of the United States will consider is a new formula measuring the percentage of advantage that the ruling party has to keep elections fair.
If the districts are heavily weighted to one party over the other then that’s not a fair way for the voter to be properly represented.
In gerrymandering the higher the percentage of voters to one party over the other would skew the election in that district in favor of the ruling party drawing the boundaries.
You can think of it as a margin of error in a political poll. The higher the margin of error the less accurate the poll will be.
What This Case Could Mean To Montana
Montana is, and has been for many years, considered a “Red State.” Or, a state that has voted Republican in most elections.
Gerrymandering could be a primary reason for this condition. The Republican Party continues to draw the district lines in our state.
If the Supreme Court affirms the percentage formula idea then you could eventually see more blue counties in Montana in future elections due to a more fair way of redrawing the districts for both parties.
Some Final Thoughts
The one immediate unintended consequence I can see with this idea is that it invites voter fraud. If your district needs an advantage above that determined by the formula to win then how will a party or political group make that happen?
This Supreme Court decision will not only have an effect on Montana but all the states in the union. The entire completion of future elections could hinge on this decision.
Look for counter suits regardless of the decision in the future. California and New York might be maroon in the future.