Professor Steve Bickerstaff Discusses How Different Political Systems Draw Electoral Districts

Professor Steve Bickerstaff Discusses How Different Political Systems Draw Electoral Districts


[ Silence ]>>I was in the — a workshop
earlier this year in Normandy, France, and for 3 days we
talked about how countries draw or do not draw election
districts. And there are over 50
democracies in the world that elect from districts,
geographic districts, but in the United States,
there is an obligation to redraw those districts
after every decennial census, every 10 years, and to keep the
districts equal in population. Theoretically, that same
obligation of one person and one vote exists in
these other democracies but the reality is
very different. The other democracies have
generally disregarded any obligation to timely redraw
those election districts. Some of the most extreme
situations are in India, for example, you have districts
that have a 30,000 population and over a million
population and yet they elect the same
number of representative to the national Congress. In France, the last
redistricting was 1982, and there is no rush
to redistrict now because to redistrict is
to endanger incumbents. And in Great Britain they — the districts were drawn in
1995 based on 1990 data and used for elections in 2005. In the United States
that is not possible because of the role
of our courts. If there is not a timely
redrawing of election districts to make certain that they
are equal in population, then the courts will step in and actually redraw the
districts themselves before the next election. It’s extraordinary by
comparison to other nations. [ Silence ]

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