Why they matter

Every 10 years after the Census, states redraw their Congressional districts. ‘Redistricting’ is supposed to keep representation fair as people move about — but these lines can also be drawn to favor one party (‘gerrymandering’). After the 2010 Census Republican governors, state legislators, and commissioners gerrymandered dozens of Congressional districts — and in 2012, although Democratic House candidates got 1.5 million more votes, Republicans won a 33-seat majority. This happened because Republicans drew lines ‘packing’ Democrats into some districts — or ‘cracking’ them across many — to minimize their votes. And these lines will last from 2012-2020.

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