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Wentworth will try again with redistricting bill

Every two years, State Sen. Jeff Wentworth introduces a bill that would take redistricting out of the hands of the Legislature.

Under Wentworth’s plan, a commission responsible for drawing new maps would be made up of two appointees selected by the majority party in both the House and Senate, and two by the largest minority party in each chamber — for a total of eight commissioners. Here’s the key to draining the partisanship: the members can’t have held either elective office or positions with a political party, other than precinct chairs, within the previous two years.

Commissioners then would select a ninth, nonvoting member.

“I continued to introduce it, trying to appeal to people’s sense of fairness,” Wentworth said. “And I tried to fight off the characterization that this was some sort of nonpartisan plan. It’s notnonpartisan — it’sbipartisan. … Of course, it’s going to be partisan. The question is, will it be bipartisan or not.”

I have no problem with this, and I think most people would at least admit that this is a fairer way of conducting this bit of business. It’s just always hard to convince the party in power that it won’t always be that way, and it’s in their best interests to do this, too. Democrats should have helped Wentworth pass his bill in the 90s when they were on top but on their way out. You can make the same case for Republicans today, but good luck with it. I expect he’ll be back in 2013 with the same bill again.

Wentworth’s bill would also eliminate straight ticket voting. I’m at best agnostic on this – if people plan to only vote for candidates from one party, why not let them save some time? In my opinion, the main effect of a bill like this would be a large increase in undervoting on downballot races. Whether that would lead to “better” outcomes, or would be a desirable end in and of itself, is not clear to me. PDiddie and Greg have more.

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