As Arizona’s election results become final, the benefits of nonpartisan redistricting become clear – at least if one believes that election results should reflect the will of the electorate. Compare what happened in Arizona’s congressional elections with the results in three states that were heavily gerrymandered. In Pennsylvania, 2,723,000 votes were cast for Democratic congressional candidates, while 2,652,000 were cast for Republicans. Had these votes been evenly divided among Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional districts, each party would have won nine. But instead, Democrats won only five seats, all in overwhelmingly Democratic congressional districts that they won with an average of 76.9 percent of the vote. Republicans, who the Republican-dominated legislature distributed more evenly among the other thirteen districts, won all thirteen with a much lower average 59.3 percent of the votes cast.
The results in North Carolina were similarly skewed. Democrats received 50.9 percent of the votes cast statewide for congressional candidates, Republicans 49.1 percent. That suggests North Carolina’s 13-seat congressional delegation should have split 7-6 in Democrats’ favor. But Democratic voters were concentrated in three districts, where their candidates won with an average of 76.7 percent of the vote.
Republicans were distributed more evenly among nine districts, all of which they won, with a much lower average of 57.5 percent of the vote. Only one district was truly competitive, and in that one, the Democratic candidate appears to have prevailed by just over 500 votes. Thus, North Carolina’s delegation will be Democrats 4, Republicans 9.
Likewise, gerrymandering in Ohio produced similarly biased results. Two candidates ran unopposed, one Democrat and one Republican.