There is a popular proposition in the state legislature that would change the district voting lines based around not only the residents who live in the districts, but also the residents of the prisons nearby.
As of now, they call this practice “prison-based gerrymandering,” and it is a horrific idea. Currently, prisoners are not counted by their home address, but the prison itself. By basing electoral districts on this information, they essentially strengthen the votes of the people living near the prisons, while at the same time weakening it for everyone else.
The reason this creates furor is because the silent are essentially given a voice by diluting everyone else’s. By having the prisoners included in the population the district will be giving much more power to the people living there while the prisoners merely sit locked up.
Granted, the tactic of redistricting in order to increase the voting prowess of any particular party, be it Republican or Democrat, is nothing new; the action has been practiced for decades. But this crosses the line, no pun intended, especially with important elections on their way to our doorstep.
What will happen to other states that are known to have extremely large prison populations, such as Oklahoma and Mississippi? Getting their cues from the legislature in Kansas, the other states will quickly adopt form.
What is the next step? Redrawing electoral districts based on the dog and cat population of certain areas? Or will we convert to a system of gerrymandering based on the number of coffee-shops or twenty-four hour diners inside of a specific area?
This would inevitably lead our congressmen and congresswomen to the brink of insanity with power, changing almost every other law and act in order to better accommodate whatever party is currently in power. And what would stop them? If we don’t stop them, they would be able to alter anything they want. We will have given up all power at that point.
We need to follow in the footsteps of Virginia and propose acts to help outlaw the concept of prison-based gerrymandering. We need to stop this before the changes fully occur, especially while we are young. If not, who knows what the next change will be.