Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress shows how partisan gerrymandering has prevented states from expanding programs that would provide childcare, education, and other support for families with children.
The report focuses on specific programs that were derailed in Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. In each of these states, gerrymandering and other anti-democratic practices created a major change in the political landscape: Control of state legislatures shifted to conservative lawmakers, which stalled progress on policies important to the well-being of children and families.
“Gerrymandering allows elected officials to ignore the will of the voters,” said Alex Tausanovitch, director of Campaign Finance and Electoral Reform at CAP. “Voters support programs that benefit children, and yet, in these gerrymandered states, a majority of legislators are opposing moves to strengthen services for kids and families. Fixing gerrymandering would help to ensure that the public is faithfully represented.”
Some of the programs that have been derailed include the following:
- In North Carolina, voters support expanding pre-K, expanding Medicaid, and raising teacher pay, but the gerrymandered legislature has continually pared back or opposed such policies.
- In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a budget that would have added $84 million for preschool for 4-year-olds from low- and middle-income families. But the gerrymandered legislature ultimately increased funding by only $5 million—less than 6 percent of the governor’s request.
- In Pennsylvania, despite support from voters, the gerrymandered legislature resisted calls to provide greater services to Pennsylvania children in the form of pre-K and childcare funding. The legislature also limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s efforts to address the huge disparities between Pennsylvania’s high-income and low-income school districts.
The report recommends requiring independent commissions to draw voter-determined districts based on statewide voter preferences. This policy would end partisan gerrymandering and increase representation for communities who have too often been shut out of the political system.
Read the report: “How Partisan Gerrymandering Hurts Kids” by Alex Tausanovitch, Steven Jessen-Howard, Jessica Yin, and Justin Schweitzer
- “How Partisan Gerrymandering Prevents Legislative Action on Gun Violence” by Alex Tausanovitch, Chelsea Parsons, and Rukmani Bhatia
- “How Partisan Gerrymandering Limits Access to Health Care” by Alex Tausanovitch and Emily Gee
- “Voter-Determined Districts: Ending Gerrymandering and Ensuring Fair Representation” by Alex Tausanovitch
For more information, or to talk with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at gro.ssergorpnacirema@lenanahs, or 202-478-6327.