The community districting process affects us all, and the way district lines are drawn can significantly impact almost every aspect of your daily life. We’re going to take a look at how community districting affects you and your community. By participating in the line drawing process, you can advocate for fair representation for your community.
Access to Healthcare
Access to healthcare is of significant concern to citizens today. Many Americans are unaware that gerrymandering, the process of drawing lines in favor of one political party or elected official, can impact their access to policy-making, including state decisions about Medicaid. In past district drawing cycles, gerrymandering has been a decisive factor in blocking more residents from receiving Medicaid.
According to data from the U.S Census Bureau, 1 in 10 Alabamians doesn’t have health insurance. For some parts of the state, that number is even higher. While the topic of Medicaid expansion has been controversial, most people agree that healthcare should be a top priority for our legislators.
Quality Education and School Safety
Quality education in a safe environment is something that all young people deserve. 2020 was an especially trying year for students and teachers that presented safety concerns we have not encountered in decades. Gerrymandering diminishes a family’s ability to influence decisions about the safety and education of their children, and contributes to low-income students being restricted to underperforming, underfunded schools. By engaging in the line-drawing process, parents can advocate for better quality education and safer schools.
Access to Jobs
According to the Alabama Department of Labor, 91,065 Alabamians were unemployed as of March 2021. Job security has been a massive issue facing Americans over the last 12 months, with over 20.6 million jobs lost nationwide. Business and local economies suffer when the government can’t secure a stable economic environment, or pass legislation to grow the economy. When local economies suffer, so do their constituents.
Gerrymandering has a direct effect on our elected officials and economic policy-making. Small to medium-sized businesses especially suffer from the gerrymandering process of “cracking” or drawing district lines to split like-minded communities and voting groups. Splitting up local communities dilutes their voice. Rather than having a single representative making a strong case for their best interests, the community is divided between multiple legislators, often representing larger constituencies elsewhere and leaving them behind. When economies suffer due to lack of representation, local businesses can lose valuable resources and support, leaving them struggling to stay open and provide jobs.
Local representatives play a massive role in raising issues about crime. By participating in the line-drawing process, you can help to secure a safe environment and improved facilities for your neighborhood. Even simple additions such as street lamps can come about as part of this process, so take advantage of any opportunities you have to participate and share your concerns.
Budgeting for public programs and support services is also impacted by the district drawing process. When funding for public programs is cut, it can leave communities without the resources they need to overcome the problems they face.
The community districting process determines congressional, state, and local legislative districts, city councils, and local school boards. By participating in this process, you are advocating for fair elections. When elected officials gerrymander districts, we lose our power to choose who is elected into office and what legislation is passed.
As you can see, community districting can significantly impact almost every aspect of your daily life. Alabama Election Protection Network is working with grassroots organizations and faith-based communities throughout the state of Alabama to educate, engage, and empower Alabamians in the line-drawing process. You can get involved and stand up for the issues that matter in your community here.