his term the Supreme Court will render a decision in Gill vs. Whitford – the most important case of the year, according to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The case concerns partisan gerrymandering, the practice of drawing election districts to give advantage to one political party. This issue is not new, but what has changed are the sophisticated computer programs that have made partisan gerrymandering more effective than ever.
Gill vs. Whitford arose in Wisconsin, where Republicans in 2012 won 61 percent of the assembly seats with only 48.6 percent of the statewide vote.
Partisan gerrymandering is inconsistent with basic principles of democratic government. It allows a party that wins a minority of votes cast for the legislature to end up with a significant majority of seats.
This is no longer the case in California. Our state is one of the few that has eliminated partisan gerrymandering by having independent commissions draw election districts. This is a model that should be pushed nationwide.
By affirming a lower-court decision in Wisconsin that found the election process unconstitutional, the Supreme Court can put an end to partisan gerrymandering. Voters need to be electing their representatives, not the other way around.
Kent Mitchell, Riverbank