Interesting article from Reason.com about the perils of independent redistricting, namely that it’s not as independent as one might think (or committed to ending gerrymandering).
To wit, a working paper out of UCLA and Yale suggests that independent redistricting is largely a myth. While legislator-driven processes produced districts that were 77% safe, independent redistricting produced districts that were only 75% safe — meaning there was no distinguishable difference between the two processes.
“In sum, independent commissions do not draw House maps that encourage greater electoral competition any more than partisan legislature do,” the researchers conclude. “Overall, our results suggest caution in overhauling state redistricting institutions to increase electoral competition: independent commissions may not be as politically-neutral as theorized.”
Not good news for purveyors of independent redistricting in Virginia, to be sure.
Of course, if one could imagine such a process… how would it look? One might suggest helpfully that the people would elect representatives to determine the lines, and that these representatives would select from among the people’s representatives every 10 years a committee to review and select districts, then refer the report to the representatives as a whole.
…which, of course, is how the process works today. Not placed in the hands of a few “non-partisan” appointees.