Regarding the letter “Ignore party politics when redrawing legislative districts” (Sept. 19): Missouri Senate and House redistricting commissions will soon have public hearings on drawing new district maps. Many wonder how this relates to their family or community. I used to feel that way until I learned how big an impact the redrawn maps will have.
How people are grouped affects the relative importance of their voices. When a group is divided across several districts and is in the minority, its voices may be ignored. Alternatively, gathering those same people into just a few districts leads to being heard by only a few representatives.
Both methods create “safe” districts where a candidate need only be responsive to some voices in his/her district to get elected. While this may seem like a benefit for the majority voice, that is often not true. If a legislator is in a safe district, it can lead to the heavy influence from lobbyists and decreased concern for constituents. It’s why Missourians voted to expand Medicaid only to have lawmakers fail to implement it. Our legislators can be disconnected from the will of the voters.
People should raise their voices for a fair and transparent redistricting process so that all voices can be heard.