The Instigator
kjorstad
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Guidestone
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Gerrymandering Should Be Eliminated

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
kjorstad
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/29/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 11,852 times Debate No: 61037
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

kjorstad

Pro

Greetings! In this debate we will be arguing whether or not gerrymandering should be eliminated from our political system. I will be arguing pro; the opponent will be tasked with arguing in favor of gerrymandering. You are welcome to simply accept the debate or to begin your arguments in your first post; whichever you prefer.

I look forward to our debate!
Guidestone

Con

I accept this debate, and hope we come to a final resolution.

Gerrymandering: to divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group [1].

1. Gerrymandering allows officials to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency.

If a political district is drawn to overwhelmingly favor party 1 then and overwhelming people in that district will be happy with their representative. However, in districts that are close then depending on the voting method at least a big section to upwards of over 50% of the people in that district would be unhappy with their representative. Concluding, gerrymandering will make more citizens sastfied with their representative.

2. Gerrymandering will allow the legislature to be more accurate of how the citizens feel.

Assuming districts are drawn with equal population in each district then if 7/10 districts favor party 1 while the other 3/10 favor party 2 it is reasonable to assume as a whole the state favors party 1 around 70% while it only favors party 2 30%. This is because districts are usually drawn by bi-partisan committees which likes to give each of their parties safe seats and prevents from disproportionate gerrymandering. Concluding, gerrymandering will most accurately allow people to select their representative and maintain a close proportion to how the citizens overall feel.


Sources
[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 1
kjorstad

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate! I"d like to start with a few definitions:

Gerrymander-to manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class. Partisan gerrymandering makes the distribution of voters more consequential than their raw number, resulting in wasted votes.

Redistricting-Redistricting is the process of drawing United States electoral district boundaries, often in response to population changes determined by the results of the decennial census.

Packing-to concentrate as many voters of one type into a single electoral district to reduce their influence in other districts.

Cracking-involves spreading out voters of a particular type among many districts in order to deny them a sufficiently large voting bloc in any particular district.

First, it's important to understand that there are two main types of gerrymandering, packing and cracking. Packing involves the concentration of voters to reduce their influence in other districts; so, for example, Democrats might gerrymander to group together as many republicans as possible so as to win the remaining districts. Cracking is when voters of one party are spread out to eliminate a large concentration of votes. So, Republicans might gerrymander to spread out the democratic voting base to reduce their impact. Further, there is a difference between gerrymandering and redistricting. While redistricting may be inherent to gerrymandering, gerrymandering is NOT inherent to redistricting. It is entirely possible to have unbiased redistricting while eliminating gerrymandering altogether.

To respond to my opponent"s first point, he argues that gerrymandering "allows officials to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency." This is true to the extent that you seem to be under the assumption that gerrymandering only involves the packing of votes. If cracking is used instead, you have largely proportional constituencies of voters in which the dominant party carefully calculates it's advantage to make it close, but to still take the vote. It is true that they are more effectively representing the views of their party, if in an unfair, arguably illegal way that reduces the voice of the other party.

Now for my opponent's second point, that being "Gerrymandering will allow the legislature to be more accurate of how the citizens feel." This is patently false; inherent to gerrymandering is one party taking unfair advantage over the other to favor their party. First, when a party gerrymanders, it is not done through a bi-partisan committee-it's done by party members of the dominant party exclusively. This means they have complete control of the process. Bi-partisan committees are only involved when redistricting takes place; in this case, the dominant party has complete control over the outcome of the district lines. This said, the purpose of gerrymandering is to influence the overall vote to favor one's own party, meaning that even if one party garners more votes, the opposing party might still win more seats.

A perfect example of this is the great gerrymander of 2012. Despite the Democrats receiving 1.4 million votes more than the Republicans for the House of Representatives, the Republicans still came out top with 234 seats to 201 [1]. How is this possible? Gerrymandering. If you look closely, the Republican State Leadership Committee published a strategy which involves taking over state legislatures before the decennial Census, then redrawing state and Congressional districts to lock in partisan advantages, a plan which has proven extremely effective.

Essentially what gerrymandering accomplishes is the wasting of 'enemy' votes. In seven states where Republican legislators redrew districts, packing effectively wasted 1.7 million Democrat votes. Likewise, in Illinois, Democratic gerrymandering wasted 70,000 Republican votes. Interestingly enough, the only state where the proportion of votes matches exactly the number of seats won by each party is California, where Democrats took 62% of the vote and won 38 of 53 seats [1]. Even more interesting is the fact that California effectively eliminated the ability of legislators to gerrymander by creating California Citizens' Redistricting Commission [2]. What does this tell us? Gerrymandering actually DOESN'T mean the legislators are more accurate of how the citizens feel; it means the legislators more accurately represent their own political leanings by unfairly eliminating the votes of opposition party members.

I think it's fairly clear why we should eliminate gerrymandering; it allows the dominant political parties to unfairly bias elections by wasting the votes of opposition party members. In fact, in a poll conducted in 2014 in New York in which people responded to the question "Should the redrawing of Congressional districts be controlled by an independent, non-partisan commission?" on voting ballots, 86% responded with a resounding "Yes" [3]. It would be quite easy to eliminate the legislator's ability to gerrymander and instead follow California's lead by creating a commission of citizens tasked with the responsibilities of redistricting. This could even be an additional duty assigned to the Supreme Court in each state. However, clearly something needs to be changed.

If we took a look at the mass scale of gerrymandering taking place in the US and the grand total of votes wasted in any given election, the number would dwarf the likely effects of both voter-ID laws (a Democratic concern) and of voter fraud (a Republican concern). Thus, this should be a prime concern for both major parties. In 1986, the US Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering was unconstitutional; however, they set such a high standard of proof that it is extremely difficult to make a legal challenge of such redistricting procedures [4].

Sources:
[1] http://www.nytimes.com...;
[2] http://wedrawthelines.ca.gov...
[3] http://www.isidewith.com...
[4] http://www.propublica.org...
Guidestone

Con

I will be unable to post a response this round, but I do wish to continue the debate.
Debate Round No. 2
kjorstad

Pro

That"s fine; I look forward to your responses!

As it happens, there was an article on gerrymandering in yesterday's newspaper, which is extremely coincidental in showing the modern relevance and controversy concerned with gerrymandering. In 2012, Republicans (in control of the Alabama state legislature) redrew district lines to pack 14,806 blacks and 36 whites into a voting district which already had a 72% black voting population, bringing the percentage of black voters to 75%. This action had the result of both allowing the black voters to elect their favored candidate, but also made the surrounding districts more white and 'Republican-friendly.' A map of the district lines are now on their way to the Supreme Court with requests by both Democrats and African Americans that the black voting population be diluted. In fact, this is only the first of such cases to be elevated to the Supreme Court; the ruling could affect similar disputes in Texas, Florida, Virginia, and many other Southern states where Republicans control the legislatures.

Why is this interesting? Because it shows that not only does gerrymandering allow for the dominant political party to waste the votes of opposition and artificially increase their political representation and power, but that parties can also use a system of racial quotas in doing so. Turning the Voting Rights Act against blacks in this way simply adds to the reasons that gerrymandering should be eliminated.
Guidestone

Con

I thank my opponent for their response and patience.

1. Gerrymandering allows officials to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency.

My opponent admits that if in the case of packing were true, then they would represent their citizens better, but this is also true in cracking too, because the goal is to still win that seat safely meaning still a vast majority would still favor one party. However, if someone such as a non-partisan committee makes the lines then it could cause near 50% to be upset with their representative, and non-partisan committee are not always as non-partisan as they sound.

2. Gerrymandering will allow the legislature to be more accurate of how the citizens feel.

It is true gerrymandering will give one party an advantage, but that in the political district not state wide. Bipartisan committees are equally divided between the parties and they generally make "sweetheart deals" when they draw districts favoring the incumbent, this would be bipartisan packing. Now dealing with the 2012 election. I would argue this is a problem with the representative allocation more because each state must get at least one representative. Such as if you take Ohio's population in 2013 of 11,570,808 [1] and divided it by the 16 districts it is about 750,000 per district; however, in Montana which as one district then each district has about a million [2] in that district. This cannot be fixed with or without gerrymandering.

On the poll, that has absolutely no relevance to if we should have or not have gerrymandering in fact, this is a logical fallacy called appeal to popularity [3].

In California in 2012 the Democrats won 61% of the vote, but got about 72% of the house seats. So much for that "independent" commission, or there is a different problem here, which is districts are divided by population not registered voters, which could produce these kind of distorted results with or without gerrymandering. If you want to make the percentage of votes won equal to the percentage of seats you would have to eliminate a pure local representative legislature and introduce statewide elections for representatives.


Sources
[1] http://quickfacts.census.gov...
[2] http://quickfacts.census.gov...
[3] http://www.logicalfallacies.info...



Debate Round No. 3
kjorstad

Pro

1. Gerrymandering Does NOT Increase Representation of Constituency Interests

To respond to my opponent"s first argument, gerrymandering only allows the party to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency in that they are allowed to manipulate district lines to illegally garner votes. In cracking, a "vast majority" is not going to favor one party. The idea of cracking is to distribute opposition party votes just enough that they can"t get a majority in any district. So, if Democrats are in control of the legislature, they will spread out Republican voters just enough that they don"t have enough to win in the district. A district could be 40% Republican and 60% Democrat (typically they won"t risk making it more even than this). 60% is definitely not a "vast majority" favoring Democrats.

I would argue further that even if your claim is true, and the dominant political party is better representing their constituency, this also means that gerrymandering results in the infringement of the other parties to represent THEIR constituencies. The goal of the democratic process is not to allow the dominant political party a monopoly on representation and speaking, but rather to afford everyone proportional representation and the equal opportunity to express themselves. Thus, by your definition, gerrymandering is infringing on the rights of all citizens not represented by the empowered party.

Additionally, it is to be expected that a party might not gain the precise number of seats proportional to the percentage of the votes they took in any given election; as you state, this would be virtually impossible in our current electoral system. However, this is a lot better than the giant discrepancies that exist between votes given and seats won with gerrymandered districts. In response to "non-partisan committee are not always as non-partisan as they sound," I certainly hope you aren"t attempting to argue that a non-partisan committee is better than our current gerrymandering system. To be sure, there is always a possibility of a "non-partisan" committee introducing partisan incentives; however, I would argue that this is better than blatant party manipulation of district lines. It is at least a step towards removing some of the power parties are exercising over the electoral system to nullify votes.

2. Gerrymandering Devalues the Vote and Undermines the Democratic Process

Realistically, because of these safe seats in our first-past-the-post voting system, all of the opposition votes are essentially worthless. This is one of the largest causes of falling voter turnout in the United States; in 2012, 93 million voters didn"t place their vote. Thus, the poll cited earlier absolutely is relevant. It is an appeal to popularity; this should have even more weight, seeing as in democratic nations everything is based on the majority. Many people don"t bother voting, especially those that know they"re in an opposition safe district where their vote is essentially already meaningless. It is even arguable that gerrymandering essentially nullifies the voting process, because who wins in elections is often determined before the voters even get to the polls. In many cases, it is determined years before the election itself. Essentially, voters are only participating in a predetermined script written by the dominant political party. Inherently, the power of parties to redraw district lines devalues the importance of the vote, and in so doing undermines the democratic process.

3. Gerrymandering Increases Party Polarization

Further, to introduce another argument against gerrymandering, it is only helping to create the party polarization we see in the US government today. Without gerrymandering, there would not be nearly as many "safe districts" come each election, meaning that officials running for office would be required to appeal to a much wider voter base. This means they would need to be much closer to central as opposed to far right or far left in their political leanings. However, because there are so many safe districts, politicians are able to get elected without appealing to as wide of a base as they would need to if they were not given a guarantee through gerrymandering. This ultimately results in two parties that become more polarized over time and less likely to compromise.

4. Gerrymandering Is Illegal

Finally, the strongest argument for the abolishment of gerrymandering that I feel has gone largely unnaddressed is the fact that it is illegal. Gerrymandering is illegal, in the United States, per Karcher v. Daggett (1983) and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [1].

Sources:
1. http://www.propublica.org...
Guidestone

Con

1. Gerrymandering allows officials to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency.

60% is a vast majority the last time any president received 60% of the popular vote was in 1972, and within the last 100 years there was never a party that received that much in the house of representatives. They would have a 20 point advantage over the other party which is almost impossible to win if you are the lower party. Just a few more points and you could amend the U.S. Constitution.

Just because a party wins one district does not infringe on the other parties' ability to represent their citizens. It makes no sense to claim that people who are not being represented are having their rights infringed, that would mean nearly half of the citizens would be having their rights infringed. This is not a problem with gerrymandering, but more with majority rule (democracy).

California house seats 2008 (before election reform) Democrats won about 60% and 64% of seats. 4% difference.
California house seats 2012 (after election reform) Democrats 61% and 72% of seats. 11% difference.
It was actually more proportional before the reform than after.

It is best with bipartisan packing because citizens will be happier with their individual representatives overall.

2. Gerrymandering will allow the legislature to be more accurate of how the citizens feel.

Low voter turnout is not such a bad thing because it means people are content with either choice, and less people will be upset at the final result because less percent of the population voted for the opposition. Further, you can not say it is the representative elections fault of low turnout because there will also be local issues, state wide issues, possible presidential issues. If people don't vote it is because they don't care. I would like to see a source that would show otherwise.

If we take a poll and 70% show support for enacting slavery again does that mean we should. Of course not, because popular opinion has no relevance on if something should happen. Further, a majority has limitations due to the constitution, which can prevent certain things like banning interracial marriage, which would not be until the mid 1990s before a majority would agree to allow it [1]. It is still a logical fallacy and improper argument.

Gerrymandering doesn't nullify the voting process either because if then it should affect each party equally because if you already know who going to win why would supporters or opponents vote? They wouldn't. Gerrymandering happens because people vote and because no votes means no one wins. Anyways, even if it was already decided then still a majority is happy because the person they want is going to win.

3. Gerrymandering Increases Party Polarization

I saw no reason presented on why this is bad. Less compromise, that might be a good thing to quote a very popular British Prime minister "To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects." - Margaret Thatcher [2].

4. Gerrymandering Is Illegal

Race gerrymandering is illegal, but in the supreme court case which asked if Indiana's new districts which "the Democrats argued that the apportionment unconstitutionally diluted their votes in important districts, violating their rights" [3] the supreme court ruled 6-3 that it was not unconstitutional. Further, in the case Karcher v. Daggett it ruled that one-sided political redistricting, which in this case favored democrats was unconstitutional; however, bipartisan gerrymandering has not been in front of the court probably because people are happy with their representatives.

Sources
[1] http://www.gallup.com...
[2] http://quotes.lifehack.org...
[3] http://www.oyez.org...



Debate Round No. 4
kjorstad

Pro

I thank my opponent for a lively and enjoyable debate; I hope to conclude this debate well!

1. Gerrymandering allows officials to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency.


Gerrymandering devalues opposition votes - there's simply no other way to put it. By controlling which districts hold which votes, the voting process can be manipulated so that while opposing party members may still place a vote, it is inherently worthless because the outcome has essentially been predetermined. It devalues the votes of groups of opposing political ideologies because they inherently don't have the capacity to win. You argued "It makes no sense to claim that people who are not being represented are having their rights infringed, that would mean nearly half of the citizens would be having their rights infringed. This is not a problem with gerrymandering, but more with majority rule." False! In sheer democracy where all votes are equal, this would be a problem with majority rule. However, gerrymandering absolutely infringes on the rights of those whose vote is not worth as much as the person in the next house over. And yes, sometimes this proportion could be close to half the population-but not quite, because we can't let them win a majority.

2. Gerrymandering will allow the legislature to be more accurate of how the citizens feel.

You argue "Gerrymandering doesn't nullify the voting process either because if then it should affect each party equally." But see, the assumption that "the nullification of the voting process through gerrymandering effects both parties equally" is solely dependent on the assumption that both parties gerrymander equally, which is patently false. The level to which the vote is devalued and to whom it is devalued depends only on which party controls the legislature. Further, many people have no idea what gerrymandering is, and most fail to realize that their parties conduct this kind of business on a regular basis; the parties rely on this "ignorance," if you will, when they calculate how many votes they can crack or pack and still pull a win - ultimately most voters have no idea an election has been skewed before they have even placed their ballot.

But my biggest dispute is with your statement "Anyways, even if it was already decided [an election] then still a majority is happy because the person they want is going to win." See, it isn't just about the majority, but also about giving the minorities a fair and equal voice as well. I believe you also stated "popular opinion has no relevance on if something should happen." As you so clearly stated, simply ensuring the majority has a clear voice and a winning opinion contradicts the very foundations our government was built upon. You argue that we cannot succumb to appeals to popularity, yet you also argue that predetermined elections and worthless votes are okay because the majority is still happy. This is a clear contradiction, and really the mentality that fuels such partisan gerrymanders.

Even senior members of the government have argued that something should be done about gerrymandering because of its imbalanced approach to voting. Eric Holder states ""We should consider reforms to the redistricting process for state and federal offices - so districts are drawn in a way that's neutral, that promotes fair and effective representation for all, and that can't be abused to protect incumbents and undercut electoral competition." [1]

I feel the Court justification from Reynolds v. Sims & Wesberry v. Sanders sums up my stance fairly well: "Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests. And, if a State should provide that the votes of citizens in one part of the State should be given two times, or five times, or ten times the weight of votes of citizens in another part of the State, it could hardly be contended that the right to vote of those residing in the disfavored areas had not been effectively diluted. Of course, the effect of state legislative districting schemes which give the same number of representatives to unequal numbers of constituents is identical. Weighting the votes of citizens differently, by any method or means, merely because of where they happen to reside, hardly seems justifiable." [2]


3. Gerrymandering Increases Party Polarization

As much as I agree that it is important to stand up for your deepest-held values, compromise is also a necessary element of politics. There are certainly issues one should not compromise themselves on; but by and large, without compromise the government comes to a standstill. Especially in a bipartisan government such as ours where there are essentially two parties in control, deadlocks result in such things as government shutdowns, as evidenced in 2013. Too many people view compromise as "surrender" or "appeasement." The fact is that not everyone can get their way, especially not in a (predominantly) two-party nation that is very widely split on what they want. Too many politicians fail to see the larger picture of "what is good for my country" and instead pursue "what is good for me and my party"-which, many feel, are one and the same; I would disagree. Our current political system is only fostering this atmosphere of "no compromise," and gerrymandering is contributing to the problem.

4. Gerrymandering Is Illegal

The reason that bipartisan gerrymandering has not been in front of the Supreme Court is because both parties feel that they are benefiting out of the exchange, not necessarily because people are happy with their representatives. Further, while it is generally true that the Courts tend to avoid gerrymandering cases unless some aspect such as race or ethnicity is involved, I would argue that discriminating against a voting population based off of their political ideologies is just as bad as doing so for any other reason; this is, however, another debate topic.

Sources:
[1] http://www.fairvote.org...
[2] http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com...
Guidestone

Con

I thank my opponent for proposing, and continuing in this interesting debate.

1. Gerrymandering allows officials to more effectively represent the interests of their constituency.

"It is best with bipartisan packing because citizens will be happier with their individual representatives overall." This statement is still true, and that means we would have the best representatives for the largest percent of the population. This can be seen with the number of safe seats in elections were the citizens will elect the same person because they still think they are the best for the job. This brings me to the point if people have a right to be represented. Which they don't because this would violate the central principle in democracy, majority rule. If citizens were guaranteed a right to be represented then there would be no point of voting for local representatives because that would violate the losing parties sides right to representation. This is why people's rights are not violated. Second, it even questionable if there is a right to vote. "the Constitution never explicitly ensures the right to vote, as it does the right to speech, for example" [1]. Voting like marriage has been up to the states to determine who can vote/marry. This is why we had to have amendments for race/sex/age discrimination because there was no universal right to vote to begin with. If there is no right to vote there is certainly no right to representation. As stated this is a problem of majority rule not gerrymandering.

"In sheer democracy where all votes are equal". In that case no matter how districts are drawn it is inherently unequal votes, because some districts have more people than others. This is includes inside of states and between states as shown earlier "Ohio's population in 2013 of 11,570,808 and divided it by the 16 districts it is about 750,000 per district; however, in Montana which as one district then each district has about a million in that district." This is inherent to local representatives, and state divisions not gerrymandering, so unless this is changed to eliminated a full local representative legislature, or allow districts to go over state lines then this problem is not going away.

The original point of more effective representation still stands.

2. Gerrymandering will allow the legislature to be more accurate of how the citizens feel.

In bi-partisan redistricting they both agree meaning it will affect them equally because they both packed districts creating safe seats. We can rule out cracking in bi-partisan redistricting because no one would consent to having their supporters split up.

Minorities do have protections under the voting rights act this gives them a fair and equal voice; however, political preference isn't considered a minority status because as mentioned there is no rights. That is the point of democracy majority rule with minority protections. This brings me to the next point of if elections are appeals to popularity. If a representative is suppose to be the best person for the job then yes, it would be a logical fallacy because just because a majority support them doesn't mean they are better than the other person. However, if representatives are suppose to be what the citizens believe then no, because the people said this person matches my views the closest which isn't done because of popularity. However, even if it was a logical fallacy it would be a problem about democracy not gerrymandering.

The problem with Eric holder's comment is that he assumes that a neutral redistricting will give the best representation; however, as shown with California earlier this is not always true. As I have argued in this debate the best representation is done by gerrymandering.

In the cases of Reynolds v. Sims & Wesberry v. Sanders they were about an imbalance of population. In Reynolds v. Sims was about "one representative per county and creating as many senatorial districts as there were senators, regardless of population variances" [2], and Wesberry v. Sanders was about "a single congressman had to represent two to three times as many people as were represented by congressmen in other districts" [3]. Although, this may be some form of gerrymandering we can both agree this should not happen, but remember the debate is about "Gerrymandering Should Be Eliminated" this would include all types of gerrymandering not just disproportionate population gerrymandering.

The original point of more accurate representation still stands.

3. Gerrymandering Increases Party Polarization

A quick note that people select a party because they think it is the best for the nation, these are not exclusive. Compromise is not necessary, it may be useful but not necessary.

4. Gerrymandering Is Illegal

Based on the fact that partisan gerrymandering has not been ruled illegal, I would argue that this point is invalid because it has not been proved.

Finally, political preference is not as bad a race discrimination. Under the equal protections clause the court has three levels of scrutiny, how laws must be treated because who they discriminate against. The top level includes race, religion, national origin, etc. The second level includes gender, and the third level is any thing else. The higher level of scrutiny the more the state must have a legitimate interest. Based on this race and political preference are on two different levels meaning they don't have the same protections under the law.



Sources
[1] http://www.usconstitution.net...
[2] http://www.oyez.org...
[3] http://www.oyez.org...


Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by kjorstad 3 years ago
kjorstad
Not necessarily, Surrealism. First, Gerrymandering is a very real legal principle; while it may not be set forth in the constitution, it is in widespread use. Second, gerrymandering is the manipulation of the boundaries of an voting population so as to favor one party or class. Redistricting is simply the process of redrawing electoral district boundaries. While redistricting may be inherent to gerrymandering, gerrymandering is NOT inherent to redistricting. It is completely possible to eliminate gerrymandering while still allowing for the redistricting process. For example, in California redistricting is done through the California Citizens Redistricting Committee, rather than by the dominant political party. This effectively eliminated the impacts of gerrymandering, especially before elections. They were also limited as to how often redistricting could be done.
Posted by Surrealism 3 years ago
Surrealism
This debate makes no sense. Gerrymandering isn't an official legal principle like freedom of speech. Gerrymandering is just the result of the way drawing congressional districts works. Eliminating gerrymandering would be like eliminating jury nullification. Simply impossible in isolation.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
kjorstadGuidestoneTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed harms of gerrymandering. Con did not show any benefits whatsoever--he appealed to some ideas that Pro had already shown to be false. Pro already noted it, but Con, Pro's argument was not an appeal to popularity fallacy, because the question was about the will of the people--which is, in other words, the question of what IS the popular answer. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.