Two men sitting facing each other with lighting equipment all around them. In a door way is a man standing holding a camera pointed at the two other men.
"CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent David Pogue (right) interviews Alex Keena, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, at Scott House on VCU's Monroe Park Campus. (Mary Kate Brogan, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

VCU professor shares gerrymandering expertise with ‘CBS Sunday Morning’

“What’s clear is that when politicians are drawing the line, then we see partisan gerrymandering,” said Alex Keena, an assistant professor of political science and co-author of two books on gerrymandering.

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On Sunday, Alex Keena, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University’s College of Humanities and Sciences, shared with “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent David Pogue and viewers some of the reasons gerrymandering remains in place in the United States.

Every decade, voting district maps change to reflect new census numbers, but with gerrymandering, districts are redrawn to give political parties an advantage, or as Pogue said, “Instead of voters choosing their representatives, the representatives choose their voters.”

Keena, co-author of “Gerrymandering the States: Partisanship, Race, and the Transformation of American Federalism” (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and “Gerrymandering in America: The House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, and the Future of Popular Sovereignty” (Cambridge University Press, 2016), addressed the challenges voters face with gerrymandering in the U.S.

A man wearing a sportscoat, dress shirt, and tie sitting in front of a bookshelf
Alex Keena, Ph.D., tells "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent David Pogue why gerrymandering happens, where it happens and how it affects voters' power in an interview that aired Sunday. (CBS News)

“The problem is politicians don’t like to change the rules that got them in power; that’s the biggest barrier,” Keena told Pogue.

Keena, who studied gerrymandering in 48 states for his books, said voters gain more power to choose their representatives when districts are redrawn through independent commissions, as opposed to elected officials redrawing the districts.

“What’s clear is that when politicians are drawing the line, then we see partisan gerrymandering,” Keena said. “But when citizens draw the maps, we see a lot less shenanigans.”

Watch Keena’s “CBS Sunday Morning” appearance on “Why gerrymandering has gotten worse.”