Posted by: Ken Riter | January 23, 2013

Are Republicans Rigging Elections?

OMAHA, NE – The Republicans in the House managed to keep their majority, but not because people voted them in, but because the Republicans in various states gerrymandered their districts. In the Red Tsunami of 2010, Republicans gained control of numerous state governments, in many of those states they gained control of both legislative houses and the governorship. In 25 of those states, the Republicans gained control of both legislative houses.  Ten of those states were states that were scheduled to lose or gain US House seats.  Most this success is attributed, by a memo from the Republican State Legislative Committee (RSLC), to the REDMAP program, REDistricting MAjority Project.

In swing states like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, there was a noticeable amount of Republicans representing those states in comparison to the amount of votes Republicans received.

Michigan felt the affects of the REDMAP most; the RSLC spent $1 million in Michigan’s legislative races in 2010. As a result, the GOP picked up 20 seats in the state house and majorities in both the state house, the state senate and the state governorship. This gave the GOP absolute control when it came to redistricting.  Although Michigan voters elected a Democratic Senator by 20 points and Obama by 10 points, the GOP maintained majorities in both state houses and sent a 9-5 GOP majority in 2012 to represent voters in the US House.

Ohio re-elected Obama by 2 points and a Democratic Senator by 5 points, yet the GOP maintained control of both state houses. In the 2010 elections, REDMAP alloted $1 million for the elections in the Ohio legislature resulting in GOP majorities in both houses and GOP control of the governorship. This gave the GOP complete control over redistricting and allowed them to send a GOP majority 12-4 to the US House in 2012, despite voters only giving them 52% of the vote for Congressional candidates.

Pennsylvania also felt the blow of REDMAP in their races as well.  The RSLC spent $1 million in Pennsylvania’s state house races that resulted in GOP control of both houses and GOP control of the governorship, also giving the GOP complete control over redistricting. Pennsylvania elected a Democrat for US Senate by 9 points and re-elected Obama by 5 points, yet they sent a 13-5 GOP majority to the US House.

Wisconsin elected a GOP majority in both house in 2010 after the RSLC spent $1.1 million. They also won the governorship, giving the GOP complete control in redistricting in yet another swing state. Wisconsinites got a bad taste of what bold conservative leadership is all about. The The state sent a Democrat to the Senate by 6 points and re-elected Obama  by 7 points. While the Democrats regained control of the state senate for a short period, the GOP regained control in 2012 and sent 5-3 GOP majority to the US House.

In the elections for the US House, Americans gave Democrats 1 million more votes than the Republicans, who now retain their majority in the US House by about 33 seats. Its not just about redistricting either, much of the money used by the GOP to fund these races is from Dark Money, dark money is from supposedly non-profits establish and millions from corporations who provide funds to groups like the RSLC to achieve GOP-map friendly election results.  Here is a chart detailing differences from 2010 to 2012.

There is big move in many states, swing states to be exact, by the GOP to change how the electoral college votes are given to candidates. The RNC chair, Reince Priebus, is urging Republican governors and legislators to change the rule in their states for the distribution of Electoral College votes. He wants the GOP in those states to change the distribution from winner takes all, to instead, grant the winner only the Electoral Votes from the District the candidate wins, namely the ones in the swing states, like Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida.  In contrast, the NEGOP has been trying to make Nebraska system winner takes all to keep the Democrats from getting any Presidential Electoral votes. The ranges in proposals would have given Obama a close victory, 270-268 or even a Romney victory of 280-258, even though Obama had a 5 million ballot margin, the largest since Eisenhower.

These results show that state elections can hold strong and powerful consequences on the national level. Voters need to understand their vote is in important in all races, not just Presidential elections.  In fact, your vote may have more weight when it comes to your local and state races.  State races are critical when it comes to redistricting.  You can bet that the RSLC knows that!  Their REDMAP program will have consequences this decade and decades to come.  Presidential elections aren’t the only elections that matter, ALL elections are important!  And losers like the GOP will rig them in all kinds of ways if normal tactics don’t work.

** Sources of information: Big thanks to the MaddowBlog!


  1. One thing I think you fail to include in your equation is the condensed populations of cities. If you look at the county by county map you will notice that Democrats get most of their votes from the high population cities, while Republicans get theirs from the more rural districts.

    But because the population in the cities is so high it makes it easier for Democrats to win statewide elections, while the more spread out Republican districts give them the leg up in county level elections.

    I live in Florida, a state that voted for President Obama and Sen Nelson. But we have a Republican Gov and a GOP majority in both the state house and senate. If you look at our districts for the US House of Representatives you will see that the Democrat districts cover Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami. While the rest of the districts went Republican, the majority of our population is in those few cities.

    If Republicans in Florida really wanted to gerrymandered to their advantage they would have split those cities and combined them with more rural areas, there for diluting the votes of the city residence. In stead, those dense population cities retain their unity and control those districts.

    Does gerrymandering occur? Sure does. Is it exclusive to the Republican party? Nope. Take a look at Illinois or Massachusetts to see how that has favored Democrats. Do we need to do something about it? Of course we should. I am in favor of county continuity in district lines. This is to say that all residence of a country must be in the same voting district federally and no more than two districts state wide.

    Thank you for your time.


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