ZACHARY: Redistricting must be transparent, nonpartisan, fair

DomeLight by Jim Zachary 

The electorate should reflect the population.

Period.

Gerrymandering is as American as apple pie, it seems, but that doesn't it make it the right thing to do.

Just because you can do something, because you have the power to do something, doesn't mean you should.

With great power comes great responsibility.

To be fair, both Republicans and Democrats gerrymander voting districts when they are in the majority.

Reporting by social justice journalist Asia Ashley shows that since 2010 Georgia's Black population has increased by 12.5%, making up 31% or 3.32 million people; the Hispanic population increased by nearly 2% by 269,768 during the last 10 years and Asians had the largest increase at 52.3%, according to 2020 Census data.

It would make perfect sense, then, that when voter redistricting is completed, the state will be made up of more voting districts where the majority of voters in those districts are people of color.

Of course, Republicans will fear that means more districts going to Democrats.

While that may be true, the whole point of redistricting is not to favor one political party over another but to have voting districts accurately reflect the population of the state as a whole. Redrawing lines to prevent districts which are made up of a majority of voters who are Black, Hispanic, Asian or any combination of nonwhite voters would constitute gerrymandering at its worst.

That is why redistricting should be independent, nonpartisan and completely transparent.

The state's redistricting committee is made up of five Democrats and nine Republicans in the Senate, and five Democrats and 13 Republicans in the House.

The redistricting committee should open up the process even more, give the general public ample time to review proposals and during the required public hearing instead of just listening, committee members should fully explain themselves if the maps they draw do not accurately reflect Georgia's population shifts and heavily favor one party over the other.

The electorate should reflect the population.

Period.

Jim Zachary is the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times, CNHI's director of newsroom training and development and president emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. 

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