Illinois Congressional District 4, which includes a narrow strip of land along I294, creates a majority-Hispanic district.
North Carolina District 12, which winds across the central portions of the state, to create a predominantly liberal African-American district.
California District 23, which winds along the Pacific coastline, creates a district with an extremely high proportion of Democrats, allowing multiple Republican districts inland.
- It disenfranchises voters by making elections meaningless. The winner is chosen by the party who drew the districts, not the citizens who cast the votes.
- Voters feel powerless. After all, why bother to vote if the outcome is already chosen?
- Incumbents are nearly impossible to remove, no matter how bad they are.
- Districts do not reflect groups with common interests.
- Districts are drawn without regard to existing political structures, like counties or cities.
- The partisan make-up of Congress does not match the partisan make-up of the people.
- Third party candidates have no chance of winning.
The lesson we are to draw from the whole is that where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure. In a Republican Government, the majority if united have always an opportunity. The only remedy is to enlarge the sphere, and thereby divide the community into so great a number of interests and parties, that in the first place a majority will not be likely at the same moment to have a common interest separate from that of the whole or of the minority; and in the second place that in case they should have such an interest, they may not be apt to unite in the pursuit of it.
The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
A discretionary power over elections ought to exist somewhere. It will, I presume, be as readily conceded, that there were only three ways in which this power could have been reasonably modified and disposed: that it must either have been lodged wholly in the national legislature, or wholly in the State legislatures, or primarily in the latter and ultimately in the former. The last mode has, with reason, been preferred by the convention. They have submitted the regulation of elections for the federal government, in the first instance, to the local administrations; which, in ordinary cases, and when no improper views prevail, may be both more convenient and more satisfactory; but they have reserved to the national authority a right to interpose, whenever extraordinary circumstances might render that interposition necessary to its safety.
The legislatures of the states ought not to have the uncontrolled right of regulating the times, places, and manner, of holding elections. These were words of great latitude. It was impossible to foresee all the abuses that might be made of the discretionary power. Whether the electors should vote by ballot, or viva voce, should assemble at this place or that place, should be divided into districts, or all meet at one place, should all vote for all the representatives, or all in a district vote for a number allotted to the district,—these, and many other points, would depend on the legislatures, and might materially affect the appointments.