Living in Society Writing

Fair Redistricting Makes for Fair Elections

Big Grove Polling Place Nov. 6, 2018

The 2018 Midterm elections are over and I’m happy about the outcome.

I live in Big Grove Precinct, nestled around Lake Macbride, and here Fred Hubbell beat Kim Reynolds by two votes of 1,107 cast in the governor’s race. Why am I happy if Hubbell lost statewide?

Compare 2018 to 2014 election results in Big Grove when Terry Branstad won the precinct with 558 votes to Jack Hatch’s 367 (951 votes cast). Overall voter turnout increased by 16 percent in 2018, and almost all of the increase favored the Democratic governor. In a precinct where Donald Trump won by 54 votes, I’m glad to see we flipped back to Democratic in the governor’s race, even if only by two votes.

My opinion on these facts: the 2018 midterms were a fair election.

People are already gearing up for the 2020 election. At stake will be something that gets to the core of what makes for fair elections, a fair way to draw maps of congressional and legislative districts.

Iowa’s process where an independent, temporary commission recommends a district map to the legislature, which votes on it, is a fair one. Iowa has avoided gerrymandered districts (like Pennsylvania and North Carolina drew to favor a particular political party) largely because of our process.

No matter who wins the legislature in 2020 we should keep our statutory redistricting process to ensure fair elections, that is, if we want to strengthen our democracy. I want that and hope you do too.

~ Published in the Nov. 29, 2018 edition of the Solon Economist