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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Missouri Republicans' Successful Gerrymandering

First, because I don't think enough people know what gerrymandering is, I put up a definition. Gerrymandering is to manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

Political parties gerrymander districts so that their candidate(s) gets elected or re-elected to government office.

And it's wrong.

It skews voting away from the will of the people in the area, in the district, and puts more in the favor of the political party instead of the constituents.

And news out this week shows, further, that the Republicans in the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City keep doing precisely this and it's a beauty. This from Addicting Info:

Huge Gerrymandering Fail Leaves College Student As Sole Voter In Missouri District

Businesses in Columbia, Missouri attempted to use their political pull to throw taxes at consumers instead of themselves, but a massive failure in their gerrymandering effort left them with one major roadblock: a 23-year-old college student who, on February 28, became the only registered voter in the district.

Representatives of the Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District attempted to remove every single eligible voter as part of an effort to ensure that local businesses had complete control over legislation — including a sales tax increase that would enable them to effectively force citizens to pay the businesses’ bills. The Columbia City Council voted in 5-2 in April to establish the district, which resembles a dinosaur drawn by a kindergartener (pictured below).

55dcae9ecbceb.image (1)
With this, their handiwork was done:

The Columbia Daily Tribune notes that, with pesky voters out of the way, the local businesses could effectively set their own laws:

“The Columbia City Council established the district on a 5-2 vote in April in response to a petition from a group of property owners in the CID boundaries. The “qualified voters” in a CID are capable of levying various taxes or assessments within the boundaries of the district to fund improvement projects. Under state law, decisions to impose sales taxes in a CID are to be made by registered voters living in the district boundaries. If no such registered voters are present, property owners vote.”

This is bad enough, certainly, but I think it's been shown, time and again, across cities, states and the nation, that the worst outcomes of all this gerrymandering is when they weaken votes of Americans due to their skin color.

We need to overcome this gerrymandering, certainly, and it can be done. We need to outlaw it so we can take our state and Federal governments back, for the people.

That and overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling and ending campaign contributions so we get the big money out of our election system and government.

No small tasks, to be sure but these can be done. We have to stand up.

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