Make Voting Fair Again
Each national election is an amazing feat. A little over half of smoking-age citizens take the time, every two years, to put on clothes and go vote at thousands of disparate jurisdictions around the country, run by people who barely know what they’re doing. Exercising the franchise, they call it. In one day, votes from some 126 million not-so-lazy citizens are tallied and certified to determine who gets nuke codes. Truly amazing.
Voting in America has a fascinating history. We begin in kindergarten, raising our hands to vote for which activity should fill “free time”—a concept now lost—or who gets to take care of the class lizard. Back then and back there, everyone’s votes had equal value, without regard to race or creed. Unfortunately, kindergarten is the voting apex of an American’s life; voting rights go downhill from there.
There are many silly games politicians play to illicitly influence, suppress, or dilute the effect of our votes. Politicians are the worst. Their biggest sin is tainting the franchise through a political process of crayon-drawing voting districts for political gain—called gerrymandering. Through their various gerrymandering tactics, politicians can legally dilute your vote to their benefit. A politician could win an election, even if he failed to receive the majority of votes cast.
There are many tactics in the gerrymandering crayon box. By example, the best and most ludicrous illustration of its abuses is “packing,” when districts are drawn to dilute the effects of a particular subset of voters—typically of certain races or socioeconomic statuses. Say you have 60 people, 35 of which are Asians like my parents who would likely vote to approve a bill that requires the mastering of calculus before graduating from elementary school, and 25 non-Asians who think that’s kinda nuts. Well, politicians in power and against the bill could draw three voting districts of equal population: (1) a district with 20 Asian voters; (2) a district with 13 non-Asians and 7 Asians; and (3) a district with 12 non-Asians and 8 Asians. In a voting system where all the votes for a district are cast for the majority of votes, we now have two districts against the bill, and only one for—even if the majority of the population here would have voted for the bill. Fuck calculus, right?!
How prevalent is this practice you ask? Ubiquitous to ridiculous ends. Even the name itself should conjure up feelings of anger and despair for our republic. Its etymology comes from the combination of Elbridge Gerry, a 1812 MA governor who drew a self-benefitting district that resembled a salamander. What an asshat, right?!
Maybe this is just a ridiculous example you say? Well, let me show you Illinois’s 4th Congressional district, which was drawn to contain as many Hispanic voters possible. It’s two larger areas are connected by a freeway, and looks, to me, like two dolphins having sex. We are so stupid.
On top of this, politicians play a lot of other silly games to trick you into voting for the wrong candidates, or simply, compelling you to stay at home on Election Day. Requiring ID's to vote, reducing the number of polling locations, or making voter registration more difficult than adopting a North Korean baby—these are just a few of [their] favorite things.
Sure, we need better policies; or candidates who know that climate change is real and caused by humans. But most of all, we need to make voting fair again, so that the franchise actually yields what the Republic wants.