Congressmen Lowenthal and Fitzpatrick Bipartisan Resolution Calls on House to Remove Gerrymandering From Congressional Redistricting

April 26, 2017
Press Release
Congressmen Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) today introduced a bipartisan House of Representatives resolution calling on the House to commit to the removal of political gerrymandering from congressional redistricting and to improve public confidence in our electoral process.

Currently, congressional districts are too often subject to partisan politics, often drawn behind closed doors to protect incumbent seats by whatever party holds a statewide majority. This results in gerrymandering--where districts are drawn in ridiculous shapes and cover vast areas to obtain a desired combination of voters to ensure a certain party's candidates have the electoral advantage. While many states, from Hawaii to California and from Arizona to Ohio, have taken great strides to reduce gerrymandering and its impacts, there is no national standard on the process for creating Congressional districts.

"The political gerrymandering of our Congressional districts—which attacks at the bedrock right of every American to fair representation—has seriously undermined the public's trust in our democratic system. It is time to get the back room out of the ballot box." Congressman Lowenthal said.

The resolution points out that gerrymandering leads to decreased electoral competition, diminishment of representation, a decrease in the faith and trust of Americans in congressional election, and is generally harmful to our democracy. The resolution declares, "That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that congressional redistricting should be reformed to remove political gerrymandering."

"Partisan gerrymandering has exacerbated electoral complacency that causes lawmakers to focus on accumulating power rather than serving constituents, and contributed to the growing divide of partisanship that grinds the gears of government to a halt," said Congressman Fitzpatrick, a former FBI anti-corruption special agent. "The American people need fewer politicians and more independent voices focused on serving. Redistricting reform is a crucial, bipartisan step to ensuring our government remains one of, by and for the people – not just political elites."

Under the U.S. Constitution, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress has the authority to regulate elections and redistricting.

Congressmen Lowenthal and Fitzpatrick point to states like Arizona and California that have shown there is a more democratic way that works: independent redistricting commissions.

Click here to read the entire resolution.

California's experience has shown that independent redistricting commissions can be extremely effective at creating fair congressional district lines through a transparent and nonpartisan process. California's final districts successfully achieved their nonpartisan criteria and were well-received by the public—who participated in the process at an unprecedented level.

Congressman Lowenthal led the charge on this issue while in the California State Legislature and his work eventually led to the citizens' referendum that gave California an independent redistricting commission.

"Every citizen in every state deserves to have the same ability as citizens in states like Californian now have to draw their congressional district boundaries without the influence and gamesmanship of politics," Congressman Lowenthal said.