The 2020 elections are more important than ever for many reasons, but one big reason is that Americans will be voting for politicians with pencils and erasers. In most states, elected politicians will have the power to erase the current lines of congressional districts and redraw them in ways that could change the laws that govern your life for the next 10 years.
Voters could suddenly find they have been “moved” into a new district with a new Member of Congress because their district boundaries were redrawn by politicians elected this year. Political parties could find themselves losing power in Congress and state governments because the lines have been “redrawn” to favor elections for their opposition.Christians and conservatives could suddenly find that the Members of Congress they like are now “redistricted” into losing election battles. And these new districts will be set in stone for 10 years!
This will affect religious freedom, abortion laws, taxes, impeachments and more.Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the country. It’s happening right now. Based on the population changes since the previous census, two things happen.
First, states that gained enough population get more Members of Congress per the Constitution (more members of the House of Representatives). States that lost enough population lose Members of Congress. Second, states must therefore redraw congressional districts—“redistrict”—in response to these gains or losses and to accommodate population shifts within the state itself.
The people with the “pencils and erasers” who redraw the districts can often reshape the maps to favor their political viewpoint. They can shape boundaries to include or exclude areas that vote predominantly for one party or another—and affect who is likely to win the new districts until the next census in 2030.
Who will have the “pencils and erasers” to redraw districts and shift political power for, or against, your values?
For citizens in 35 states, the answer is your state legislators, the men and women who vote for your state’s laws at your state capital, and your state judges, who will hear lawsuits against the proposed redistrict lines. For eight states, the responsibility goes to your governor, who has power to veto proposed redistricts. For 15 states, the task is given to commissions or similar bodies, though even these can depend on election results.
How important are these elected offices to our nation’s future?Democrat and Republican parties are pouring into state legislative, judicial, and governor races in 2020 because of the immense power of redistricting over the future of America, family and your values!
Republicans are doing the same. “This is a long-term investment,” one official said in a recent article.
The “Big Four” Are Critical to Our Future
All states are important. But Texas, Florida, North Carolina and Georgia are the states gaining population and power, and they will be critical to the redistricting that will affect our laws for the next 10 years. They currently account for 90 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Right now, Republicans control the state legislatures in all those states, so Democrats are investing money and energy to flip at least one. Texas, for example, saw massive Democrat gains in 2018, putting the Texas House of Representatives within reach.
Christian and conservative voters can identify candidates aligned with their beliefs. Christians often fail to vote because they don’t know which candidates fit their values. By researching state races this year—especially in strategic states like “the big four”—Christians and conservatives can have an impact on redistricting.
What Can Voters Do?
First, vote down the ballot! Don’t just stop with the president or other high federal offices. Every election is crucial, especially in 2020!Second, vote knowledgeably in accordance with your Christian and conservative values in the races for state legislature, state judges, and governor. Do you know the values of your candidates for your state legislature? For your state judicial offices? Your governor? Use online resources like iVoterGuide to help. Third, make sure like-minded family and friends—those in your sphere of influence—are informed to vote their values.
Debbie Wuthnow is the president of iVoterGuide. iVoterGuide’s expert research gives an in-depth analysis—and overall rating—for over 8,000 candidates in 3,500 races.