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Drawing the lines: Parties fight for redistricting power

The stakes in this midterm election are especially high because it’s a census year. States will keep, gain or lose seats in the House of Representatives based on population shifts. For example, Ohio is expected to lose two of its House seats; Texas could pick up as many as four.

But this isn’t simply a matter of counting noses. It’s a matter of hard-nosed politics. If one party can gain control of the state legislature, it can — and often does — redraw the lines to cut out certain groups who might not be reliable supporters, thereby making it easier for its own candidates to win.

This year is especially challenging because there is so much money pouring into races more or less anonymously, thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on campaign funding.

We traveled to Ohio where a  little local race has gotten some very big Washington players involved.


  • James Felton Keith

    How do the bias of representation and economic incentives benefit a democracy?

  • Rwguard62-other

    United States is not a democracy, it is a republic

  • connecticutman1

    Great report that truly gets at the heart of what this election is about: Redistricting. A nice addition to it would have been on the aspect of “Prison Based Gerrymandering” that can amplify the voice of tiny districts’ elections.

    Anyways…. Just wanted to add a note to all of the people producing Need To Know:

    Keep up the good work. You seem to be trying to bring some sense of civility and hitting on the real issues back to the political stage while putting the horse race aspect and the “he said, she said” distraction on the sidelines where it should be. Thank you!

  • behind Iron Curtain of Queens

    Amazing how The New York Times and your WNET program ALAARM the audience by only the specter of Republicans drawing the lines . . .

    . . . . . while turning a blind eye to the massive gerrymandering right in their backyard, of Queens swing-voting congressional districts, where carpetbagging Congressman Anthony Weiner – from SouthWest BROOKLYN – would have otherwise LOST in the last election!