The upcoming documentary Gerrymandering resurfaces the controversial nature of behind redistricting, and CNN spoke with Dean Frank Gilliam to gain perspective on the matter. The coverage discussed whether voters will make changes to reform the system through independent commissions. In effect, the November ballot in several states, such as California's Proposition 20 and 27, are asking people to take politicians out of the "horse trading" process. As Gilliam put it:
It's plain and simple, the politicians draw the lines to advantage themselves...these people aren't just numbers.
Gerrymandering has been a long-standing method of redistricting by politicians. By this give and take method, politicans carve out their support towards re-election, allowing them to stay in office longer. A secondary effect has charged politicans for creating segregated communities who have either benefited or been neglected substantially through redistricting. The current contreversy asks if voters believe it is fair for politicans to set district lines through this method. Gilliam noted that:
If we saw fair redistricting, we might buy it, but the altruism seems to be missing."
Frank Gilliam is the Dean of the UCLA School of Public Affairs, and is a longtime UCLA professor of public policy and political science. Gilliam’s research interests include strategic communications and its effects on shaping public policy; electoral politics; and racial and ethnic politics. He is the author of Farther to Go: Readings and Cases in African-American Politics (Harcourt Brace) and his work has been published in many leading academic journals.