Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Gerrymandering

By
Friday, February 2, 2018

To the Editor:

The Herald’s Jan. 31, 2018 op-ed “Gerrymandering — a political scapegoat” misrepresents the effect that gerrymandering has had on R.I. politics.

Miller writes that gerrymandering has given Democrats an unfair advantage in Rhode Island, yet simple voter registration data shows that is incorrect. Miller writes that the Democrats have an advantage because they have 86 percent of the state Senate seats but only make up 40 percent of the voters. But this is because 47.3 percent of Rhode Island voters are registered as independent. In fact, Republicans occupy 14 percent of the state Senate seats but only make up 11.8 percent of the registered voters. How has gerrymandering “imbalanced the Rhode Island political system to favor Democrats,” as Miller writes, if Republicans are actually overrepresented in the State House?

Furthermore, Miller writes that gerrymandering in Rhode Island has “drowned out the voices” of Republicans in Rhode Island. This claim, however, ignores the fact that many of the ruling Democrats in Rhode Island are, for all intents and purposes, Republicans. Take for example Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello — a Democrat — who has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, opposes abortion rights, called for Rhode Island to support President Trump and supports slashing taxes on the wealthy. If the voices of Republicans were actually drowned out, Rhode Island wouldn’t have a voter-ID law, low tax rates for the wealthy and an impending $165 million cut to Medicaid. If anything, the voices of true Democrats have been drowned out by a party that doesn’t represent them.

Harry August ’19