The legislative politics of congressional redistricting commission proposals

Andrew Karch, Corrine M. McConnaughy, Sean M. Theriault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Many politicians and reformers have suggested that allowing non- or bipartisan redistricting commissions to draw congressional districts will make elections more competitive and reduce partisan polarization. Although such commissions reduce the power of political parties and elected officials, they have been considered in 24 states from 1999 to 2006. We combine an analysis of national patterns of bill consideration with an intensive examination of legislative activity in three states. Our study suggests that internal pressures, such as redistricting controversies, and external pressures, such as the initiative process, contribute to the consideration of redistricting commission legislation. Furthermore, the precise combination of internal and external pressures in a state leads proposals to take one of two paths in the legislative process: a "partisan path" dominated by legislative insiders and interparty wrangling and a "good government path" where outside interest groups exercise more influence and the debate surrounds specific features of the proposal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-825
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Congressional redistricting
  • Gerrymandering
  • Initiatives
  • Interest groups
  • Redistricting commissions
  • State legislatures
  • State politics


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