There are good reasons that President Ronald Reagan so strongly opposed gerrymandering. Giving control over district boundary drawing to state legislatures gives license to the majority party to keep itself in power and create safe seats for incumbents. This unfair practice exacerbates extremism, skews election results, and prevents policies supported by vast majorities from becoming law.
The good news is that many states are recognizing the need for new approaches to redistricting that incorporate independent and nonpartisan input and reduce the potential for insider manipulation. In 2018 redistricting reform ballot initiatives won in five states, supported in nearly all cases by large bi-partisan majorities. Polls indicate that at least 60% of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents support independent redistricting commissions; and nearly 90% of voters generally recognize the need for reform.
Election Reformers Network supported two ballot initiatives for independent commissions in Missouri and Utah. ERN is also supporting a more comprehensive fix to gerrymandering through the Fair Representation Act, which calls for members of the House of Representatives to be elected in multi-member districts via ranked choice voting. Changing to multi-member districts simplifies redistricting, significantly reduces the polarizing impact of geographic “self-sorting,” and creates a much more representative election process.