Forkenbrock Series on Public Policy

 

Is Redistricting Polarizing America?

Old Capitol Senate Chambers
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 5:30 PM
Word cloud about gerrymandering and redistricting

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center, with support from the UI Department of Political Science, hosted “Is Redistricting Polarizing America?" at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15 in the Old Capitol Senate Chambers as part of the Forkenbrock Series on Public Policy.

The event was a discussion about redistricting between David Daley, former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, and Jonathan Winburn, associate professor of political science at the University of Mississippi. The discussion was moderated by Tracy Osborn, director of the Politics and Policy research program at the PPC and UI associate professor of political science. The event was free and open to the public.

Redistricting is the process by which new congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn. Each of Iowa's four United States Representatives and 150 state legislators are elected by districts. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the U.S. Census. The federal government stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

Redistricting is a fiercely contested issue, primarily due to gerrymandering—the practice of drawing district lines to favor one political party, individual or constituency over another. In most states, the legislatures are primarily responsible for both congressional and state legislative redistricting. In Iowa, an advisory commission draws both congressional and state legislative district lines, with the state legislature retaining final authority.

Redistricting plans are constantly challenged in the federal court system – sometimes even in the Supreme Court – on questions of whether partisan redistricting unfairly disadvantages others.  With the increase in polarization between Democrats and Republicans in Congress and many states, many also question the connection between redistricting and public policy outcomes in states where redistricting is a partisan process.

Daley is former editor-in-chief of Salon and Digital Media Fellow for the Wilson School of Humanities and the Arts and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. His work has appeared in National JournalRolling StoneNew York magazine, InterviewUSA TodayDetails and many other publications.

Winburn is an associate professor and the graduate program coordinator in the Department of Political Science and director of the Social Science Research Lab at the University of Mississippi. Winburn specializes in state politics and policy, representation, and redistricting. He graduated with his B.A. from Western Kentucky University before earning his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2005. He is author of two books: The Realities of Redistricting: Following the Rules and Limiting Gerrymandering in State Legislative Redistricting and The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus: Race and Representation in the Pelican State (with Jas M. Sullivan) and numerous articles on topics ranging from congressional redistricting to state anti-bullying policy.

The UI Public Policy Center is an interdisciplinary academic research center in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. The Forkenbrock Series on Public Policy provides a forum for dialogue about policy areas from applied, academic and interdisciplinary perspectives. 

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
Session Details Speakers
5:30 PM Redistricting Discussion
  1. David Daley
  2. Jonathan Winburn
  1. Tracy Osborn (Moderator)
  • David Daley

    Salon

    David Daley is the author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy (W.W. Norton/Liveright) and the former editor-in-chief of Salon.com. He is a digital media fellow at the Wilson Center for the Humanities and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. He is currently the publisher and CEO of the Connecticut News Project. His work has also appeared in New York magazine, the Boston Globe, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Details and many other publications. He earned his B.A. in political science at Boston College and his M.A. in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Jonathan Winburn

    University of Mississippi

    Jonathan Winburn is an associate professor and the graduate program coordinator in the Department of Political Science and directs the Social Science Research Lab at the University of Mississippi.  Winburn specializes in state politics and policy, representation, and redistricting.  He graduated with his B.A. from Western Kentucky University before earning his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 2005.  He is author of two books: The Realities of Redistricting: Following the Rules and Limiting Gerrymandering in State Legislative Redistricting and The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus: Race and Representation in the Pelican State (with Jas M. Sullivan) and numerous articles on topics ranging from congressional redistricting to state anti-bullying policy.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Leslie Gannon at (319) 335-6817 or leslie-gannon@uiowa.edu.