Take redistricting away from politicians, let computers draw maps

Hyper-partisanship is a problem. Politicians only look out for the good of the party or staying in power, and voting districts are carved out so they maximize the seats of whichever party is in control.

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People vote on the first day of early voting for the Illinois primary elections at the Loop Super Site at 191 N. Clark St., Tuesday morning, May 31, 2022. | Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

People vote on the first day of early voting for the Illinois primary elections at the Loop Super Site at 191 N. Clark St., Tuesday morning, May 31, 2022.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

I’m glad to see that the Democracy Solutions Project has started! I’m writing to throw an idea out into the universe and see if it can manifest itself.

One of the reasons we’re having some of these problems is due to the hyper-partisanship on both sides. There is no more compromise. Nothing for the good of the people, only for the good of the party or for staying in power. This is because all voting districts are carved out so they maximize the seats of whichever party is in control, forming both Democratic and Republican “sure things” for the most part. This leads to candidates running way left or way right to win the primary, and the winner of the primary becomes elected from whichever party controls the district.

My solution is this: Take the district-drawing away from the parties, and also away from a commission or any other body that involves people. A computer program could be written that would include rivers, boundaries, main streets, etc., essentially anything that could be used to divide the districts. A starting point could be chosen — i.e. a town or suburb or place — and the computer would randomly pick a direction, get to a boundary, pick a direction again until hitting another boundary. This would go on until a sufficient number of people are in the area to form the district, then repeat. I’m sure it’s not as simple as that but that is the gist of it.

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What could happen is each party picks starting points, maybe a whole town they would like to be in a district, and the program produces a map based on those starting points. Say each party gets to pick three starting points. The party not in power could remove two of the choices, and the party in charge gets to choose the final map.

This should scramble the districts at least somewhat so they are not homogeneous to a party. Theoretically, a candidate would have to appeal to all sides in order to get elected. It would probably also help if there were no primaries and ranked choice voting was used, which would also save a ton of money by having just one election.

Either way, it should produce a Congress that might not be nearly as hyper-partisan, where moderates can grow and compromises can be produced.

It seems like a lot but we have seven years before the next Census and that should be plenty of time to get something up and running.

While we’re at it, I’d love to see candidates pledge to give one-half or 1% of their campaign donations to charity. Not sure if it’s legal, but with the obscene amounts being spent on races, it would be a lot of money for charities.

Keep up the good work!

Steve Garcia, Wood Dale

Wake up and stop worrying about “woke”

The GOP spends a lot of time worrying about “woke.” “Woke” is an African American adjective describing a level of alertness to racial prejudice and discrimination. I guess this means the GOP has no concern about such matters in America.

The GOP needs to “wake up” and realize America’s problem with racial prejudice and discrimination began (in 1619) before it was officially a country and continues to be an influence today.

If the GOP decided to try and help reduce the influence of racial prejudice and discrimination and not stand in the way, they could sleep better.

Warren Rodgers Jr., Orland Park

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