Home-Grown System Rigging… and How We Can Stop It

Every 10 years, state legislative and congressional maps are redrawn following the U.S. Census. In 2011, politicians rigged the system like never before. The nonpartisan organization FairVote says that of the 435 seats up for reelection in the U.S. House of Representatives, only about 10 percent will be competitive, due to gerrymandering.

Since then, we’ve seen:

  • More right-to-work laws
  • Fewer project labor agreements
  • Attacks on prevailing wage laws
  • Gutting of safety rules

    But we can stop it. How?


    The maps below show how the highly-politicized redistricting process often results in boundaries that either split similar voters among multiple districts or pack them together. The strategies are different, but they share the same effect – marginalizing one set of voters to benefit those in power.


    The chart titled "3 Scenarios: How to Rig an Election" shows how the same votes can be manipulated to create three vastly different electoral outcomes, one fair and two that fail to represent voters on both sides.

    Giving redistricting power to nonpartisan independent commissions are one potential solution, but only a handful of states use them. Click here to see how your state draws its voting boundaries.

    Because each has a different redistricting process, here’s a link that explains it, state by state.

    If you’d like more information, the IBEW Media Department produced a video, embedded at the top of this page, “Why Gerrymandering is Bad for Democracy, and Working Families.” The Electrical Worker featured the story on the cover of the May newspaper; and Secretary-Treasurer Kenneth W. Cooper’s column discussed its importance.


    Write a letter to the editor of your town’s newspaper on the issue. Here’s a sample.

    Download and share this graphic to help spread the word about how the deck is stacked against working families.