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Existence of gerrymandering

Date: 4/4/2011

Since the term gerrymandering originated in Massachusetts, there is little point in debating whether or not gerrymandering exists.

To be fair, both political parties are guilty of political gerrymandering. Some in Massachusetts will point out Republicans in Texas use similar tactics. But what does that have to do with us recognizing our own problems with political manipulation by a majority party? Both cases are fundamentally unfair and nothing our elected leaders should defend or play a part in.

Political gerrymandering does not serve the public or lead to free and fair elections. Just as racial gerrymandering is designed to hold down minority candidates, political gerrymandering is designed to keep all challenger candidates from a level playing field and in the minority.

The people of Massachusetts who you have sworn to represent deserve, openness and transparency and good government by the consent of the governed.

Everything in nature has a balance. There is no such balance in our government here in Massachusetts. As a result, common sense rule reforms and proposals are voted down at the beginning of every legislative session. The residents and taxpayers of our state would all be better served by open discussions of important issues and vigorous debate of opposing ideas.

Instead we are left with a lopsided majority, where dissent has little place or hope of succeeding, where new ideas have little chance of moving forward and the last three speakers of the house have been indicted.

I ask that the Redistricting Committee consider some common sense proposals.

Districts should not be designed to split a town if the population allows it to fit into one state representative district. Towns such as Chicopee and Chelmsford should not split up into many districts. Towns in a state representative district be grouped together when part of a school region. Congressional districts should be regional, with western Mass retaining two districts, similar to the original districts of the late 1800's.

I would like to remind this committee that a government that insulates itself from the will of the people is not a democracy, and one that manipulates the law to suit itself is not a republic.

Dan Allie


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