You know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Seems the Iowa voter may be the target of the next big political heist. The issue of possible gerrymandering of Iowa’s voting districts should actually be remote given that Iowa’s districting process is ranked among the best in the U.S. Legislative staff, non-partisan, develop the maps without political data. If the legislature does not agree, another map is drawn up. After two tries, the third plan can be amended like any other bill or the legislature could draft its own plan. That hasn’t happened. Yet. But, it is important to note that Iowa’s unique plan is statutory, not constitutional. Thus, it is always subject to repeal.
District lines are redrawn every 10 years after the U.S. census and must have nearly equal populations, not discriminating on race or ethnicity. But, the Republican approach to this issue around the U.S. has been directed to as much political gerrymandering as possible, and the newest Supreme Court decision seems to give unlimited power to redistrict on the basis of politics.
This should be enough to give us great pause here in Iowa where all three branches of government are Republican controlled. We’ve seen collective bargaining be essentially gutted, Medicaid privatized with resulting chaos and lack of payment for services and the judicial nominating process turned from non-partisan to partisan.
Let’s take a peek at Congressional D2, where Rep. Loebsack is retiring. The nominees aren’t decided yet. What matters here are the comments of potential candidate Bobby Schilling, former Congressman in Illinois, now living in Iowa, who is eyeing a run for this seat. In an interview with Mark Ridolfi, North Scott Press Assistant Editor, Schilling said competing in D2 would be easier than if he had stayed in Illinois. Schilling stated clearly he believed Iowa “has one of the fairest mapping systems in the United States.”
Remember these are words from a Republican. So, in the next legislative session, we may hear of the need to change our current non-partisan districting process. Ask the Republicans what has changed? Carefully consider their responses, knowing they want to lock in voting districts as Republican. Our current districting process is non-partisan and fair to all Iowans. There is really no one else to turn to but the voters. That’s us. Tell them “no.”
Eric A. Lindberg