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  #1  
Old 11-05-2006, 07:59 PM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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Why isn't gerrymandering unconstitutional?

Link to older thread:

GM thread

Right now I am in the district of a certain Ander Crenshaw (R), where I have virtually
no chance of helping elect someone who at least represents some of my views,
because the district got drawn in such a way as to ensure a large Republican base.

Why exactly has the Supreme Court not shot down what is obviously a biased,
premeditated, antidemocratic practice? Reading up on the subject a little I did
discover that racial gerrymandering is illegal, but what possible democratic
justification can be put forth for it? If lawmakers themselves are drawing the
districts, favoring their own re-election in the process, isn't that a huge conflict of
interest? It's not like it's a new phenomenon (Elbridge Gerry himself died almost 2
centuries ago). So why does it persist? What arguments have/would the Supreme
Court put forth to support its continued existence?
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2006, 08:05 PM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Well, the districts are supposed to be approved by Congress, so, in theory, both parties would have a say in it. the ultimate problem is that there's hardly anyone in teh government who ISN'T in one party or another who could draw the districts.

On a related note, in Texas, which has for a while been considered a Democrat state (one known for being more conservative than many Republican states) it was pointed out a few years ago that people seem to have a tendency to vote for republicans despite the state being traditionally democrat, and wanted to rezone the districts. The democrats didn't want to do this, but didn't have the numbers to vote it down. So they just left the state, ensuring that there wouldn't be enough legislators present to vote on ANYTHING.
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2006, 08:11 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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The OP refers to Florida's 4th Congressional District.
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  #4  
Old 11-05-2006, 08:27 PM
Neptunian Slug Neptunian Slug is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool
Link to older thread:

GM thread

Right now I am in the district of a certain Ander Crenshaw (R), where I have virtually
no chance of helping elect someone who at least represents some of my views,
because the district got drawn in such a way as to ensure a large Republican base.

Why exactly has the Supreme Court not shot down what is obviously a biased,
premeditated, antidemocratic practice? Reading up on the subject a little I did
discover that racial gerrymandering is illegal, but what possible democratic
justification can be put forth for it? If lawmakers themselves are drawing the
districts, favoring their own re-election in the process, isn't that a huge conflict of
interest? It's not like it's a new phenomenon (Elbridge Gerry himself died almost 2
centuries ago). So why does it persist? What arguments have/would the Supreme
Court put forth to support its continued existence?

Here is a pretty good essay on why the practice has never been overturned.

Findlaw Essay

But fear not, if you move to a state dominated by Democrats, you can live in a place where Republicans are similarly disenfranchised.
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  #5  
Old 11-05-2006, 08:30 PM
Gadarene Gadarene is offline
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I believe the constitutional justification is essentially, "To the victors go the spoils."

Yes, really.
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  #6  
Old 11-05-2006, 09:15 PM
cckerberos cckerberos is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool
the district got drawn in such a way as to ensure a large Republican base.
Going by the wiki article Patty O'Furniture linked to, that does not appear to be the case.
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  #7  
Old 11-05-2006, 09:17 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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To apply the Bricker Test, "What part of the Constitution does gerrymandering violate?"
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  #8  
Old 11-05-2006, 11:12 PM
flurb flurb is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
Well, the districts are supposed to be approved by Congress, so, in theory, both parties would have a say in it. the ultimate problem is that there's hardly anyone in teh government who ISN'T in one party or another who could draw the districts.
To nitpic, Congress does not play any role in setting Congressional boundaries. That's done by the state legislatures.
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Old 11-05-2006, 11:24 PM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Originally Posted by flurb
To nitpic, Congress does not play any role in setting Congressional boundaries. That's done by the state legislatures.
<johnny carson>I did not know that.</johnny carson>
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2006, 11:27 PM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
Well, the districts are supposed to be approved by Congress . . .
No, they aren't. Districts are drawn by state legislatures (or by some other body to whom a particular legislature may have delegated the power), and Congress exercises no power of approval or disapproval.
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2006, 11:28 PM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is online now
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OK, I guess by now you did know that!
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2006, 06:51 AM
Renob Renob is offline
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Of course it is not unconstitutional. There is no section in the Constitution that would prevent states from doing this, so how can gerrymandering violate the Constitution? You do realize that the Constitution gave states a lot of leeway on how to hold elections, right? In fact, I believe the only stipulations it puts on elections is minimum requirements for holding federal office, who can vote, and what day the election is.

Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's unconstitutional.
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2006, 09:55 AM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
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http://www.worldpolicy.org/globalrig...mandering.html Texas has been the poster state for this lately. It has gone to the Supreme Court to decide. Therefore it certainly has more than a local law weight.
The court decided 5 to 4 that it was ok.
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2006, 10:08 AM
gazpacho gazpacho is online now
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To a large extent it is.

http://www.campaignlegalcenter.org/r...cting-224.html

has a number of cases where the courts have found gerrymandering unconstitutional. The court cases are now mostly to determine if various redistricting proposals constitute illegal gerrymandering.
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  #15  
Old 11-06-2006, 10:15 AM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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Folrida's fourth district doesn't look all that badly gerrymandered to me. You want gerrymandering try the district I live in: The Illinois Fourth Congressional District.

Not sure if they get any more tortuous than that.
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  #16  
Old 11-06-2006, 10:32 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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How would one write a law that would prevent Gerrymandering? Oh sure, one could easily prevent some of the worst examples. But after that, I can't see how it'd be possible.
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  #17  
Old 11-06-2006, 11:07 AM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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DrDeth has it. The problem is that it's a fuzzy, hazy practice. Where does one draw the line between acceptable re-drawing of districts and underhanded practices? There are easy ways to make sure you do it morally and honestly from the inside, but very few to ensure it from the outside.
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  #18  
Old 11-06-2006, 11:26 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
How would one write a law that would prevent Gerrymandering? Oh sure, one could easily prevent some of the worst examples. But after that, I can't see how it'd be possible.
You can take the district drawing process out of the political sphere and hand it over to a non-partisan group. In fact, CA had a ballot initiative in '04 to do just that. Porp 77. It wouldn't guarnatee that no gerrymandering took place, but it would likely minimize it.
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  #19  
Old 11-06-2006, 11:30 AM
Pleonast Pleonast is offline
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I'd propose a Constitutional amendment:

The division of legislative districts shall make use of only the population enumerated by Census, and not any other considerations, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, language, religion, age, marital status, political affiliation, or wealth.

I'd also increase the number of Representatives to 1000 (instead of the current 435). A simple law could change that; no amendment needed. Those two changes alone would vastly improve our democracy.
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  #20  
Old 11-06-2006, 11:56 AM
bienville bienville is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole
Folrida's fourth district doesn't look all that badly gerrymandered to me. You want gerrymandering try the district I live in: The Illinois Fourth Congressional District.

Not sure if they get any more tortuous than that.
Wow! And I thought my district was ridiculously drawn (Yes, surprise! Surprise! My congressman is running unopposed).
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  #21  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:26 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
How would one write a law that would prevent Gerrymandering? Oh sure, one could easily prevent some of the worst examples. But after that, I can't see how it'd be possible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit
DrDeth has it. The problem is that it's a fuzzy, hazy practice. Where does one draw the line between acceptable re-drawing of districts and underhanded practices? There are easy ways to make sure you do it morally and honestly from the inside, but very few to ensure it from the outside.
Some objective criteria:

1) All areas must be contiguous unless there is compelling geographical reason that they can't be so. (thinking of MI's UP here)

2) An area/perimeter-squared test. This would tend to limit the classic tadpole shape frequently employed in gerrymandered districs. Setting a lower limit of A/p^2 = 1/16 would allow rectangles with 2:1 aspect ratio. Allow a straight line approximation for boundries that follow a state, or county border, or a geographical feature (river for example).

3) A county or municipality can only be a part of as many congressional districsts as required to represent the population +1. This would prevent fracturing a city into quadrants, each part of rural district, yet still allow a bit of a city to be fractured off as may be needed to equalize population amongst districts.
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  #22  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:36 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
You can take the district drawing process out of the political sphere and hand it over to a non-partisan group. In fact, CA had a ballot initiative in '04 to do just that. Porp 77. It wouldn't guarnatee that no gerrymandering took place, but it would likely minimize it.
In fact, that Prop would have perhaps done just the opposite. "Retired Judges" could very well be just as subject to party division as the Legislature, and coudl well have gerrymandered like crazy. From your cite "Sponsors want you to believe Prop. 77 makes government better. Don't be fooled! Read the fine print: Voters lose their right to reject redistricting before it becomes effective; politicians pick judges to draw districts for them; it costs taxpayers millions; and cemented into our Constitution" and one of the other arguments against it was that since the GoP couldn't gerrymander CA districts through the legislature, they'd do it through this Prop.

Or perhaps Prop 77 would have ended most gerrymandering in CA. Who knows?

Anyway- someone has to set districts and it's hard to ensure by law that that someone is politically neutral and fair. So far, they haven't come up with a way to do it.
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  #23  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:47 PM
Bridget Burke Bridget Burke is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
Well, the districts are supposed to be approved by Congress, so, in theory, both parties would have a say in it. the ultimate problem is that there's hardly anyone in teh government who ISN'T in one party or another who could draw the districts.

On a related note, in Texas, which has for a while been considered a Democrat state (one known for being more conservative than many Republican states) it was pointed out a few years ago that people seem to have a tendency to vote for republicans despite the state being traditionally democrat, and wanted to rezone the districts. The democrats didn't want to do this, but didn't have the numbers to vote it down. So they just left the state, ensuring that there wouldn't be enough legislators present to vote on ANYTHING.
A few more details on the Texas Redistricting. Traditionally, our Legislature considers redrawing the lines every ten years, just after the National Census. However, Tom DeLay decided that too many Democrats were still being elected. He had Governor Goodhair make redistricting a priority in the 2003 legislative session. Texas Democratic legislators fled Austin for Oklahoma at the end of the session; without a quorum, no redistricting occurred. Of course, other issues were neglected also--like school finances.

Our Governor called 3 (expensive) Special Sessions to deal with Redistricting; he didn't care about the schools. Our Legislature meets every other year, so special sessions are common. But enough Democrats went to New Mexico to prevent a vote. Finally, one Democratic Senator returned & the bill passed.

Here's a map of the new districts.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php...:109_small.png

Former Rep. DeLay's PAC's promoting Eternal Republican Majorities are being investigated. Financing is said to be a bit dicey.
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  #24  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:55 PM
Renob Renob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridget Burke
A few more details on the Texas Redistricting. Traditionally, our Legislature considers redrawing the lines every ten years, just after the National Census. However, Tom DeLay decided that too many Democrats were still being elected. He had Governor Goodhair make redistricting a priority in the 2003 legislative session.
The GOP is usually portrayed as the bad guys here, but this redistricting pushed by Delay can also be viewed as a correction of Democratic gerrymandering. Texas is a heavily Republican state and yet before this redistricting the Congressional districts still favored Democrats. The legislature failed to rewrite the districts after the 2000 election and a court decided on the lines (I'm not sure what criteria the courts used). Then when the GOP took more decisive control of the legislature in 2002, they decided to rework what they saw as Democratic-gerrymandered districts to reflect the GOP-tilt of the state.
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  #25  
Old 11-06-2006, 12:56 PM
Ludovic Ludovic is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
In fact, that Prop would have perhaps done just the opposite. "Retired Judges" could very well be just as subject to party division as the Legislature, and coudl well have gerrymandered like crazy.
Woooo! I'm gerrymandering like a retired judge!
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  #26  
Old 11-06-2006, 01:13 PM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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I'll just point out in that one ruling (see post #4 for link) 4 SC justices pretty much agreed
with me (unless they voted that way for other often obscure reasons). I'm sure that if Thomas
J and John Adams were made aware of just how widespread gerrymandering has become
they undoubtedly would have inserted some specific language in the Constitution somewhere.
Yes I know the old "Original Intent" argument-perhaps I'm just wary of the mindset that
several justices seem to take, where if it isn't mentioned specifically and explicitly in the
Constitution somewhere that the right doesn't exist.

If I was there 220 years ago I'd probably argue for proportional representation, tho I am
certainly aware of the new cans of worms that can open up too. That way if 5% of my
fellow Floridians vote (along with me) for a Green Party candidate, I finally have someone
in Washington looking over my interests.
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  #27  
Old 11-06-2006, 04:16 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
Anyway- someone has to set districts and it's hard to ensure by law that that someone is politically neutral and fair. So far, they haven't come up with a way to do it.
Gerrymandering could be eliminated by amending the Constitution (probably the state Constitution) to specify a formula and require that the districts maximize some equation that describes the ideal characteristics of a districting scheme (say, reasonably same-population geographically local districts).

Of course, getting that passed in the first place would require a populace who understands math and a legislature that actually wants to end gerrymandering, but there's no reason that an actual human decision has to be part of a particular districting plan.
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  #28  
Old 11-06-2006, 04:23 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3=
Gerrymandering could be eliminated by amending the Constitution (probably the state Constitution) to specify a formula and require that the districts maximize some equation that describes the ideal characteristics of a districting scheme (say, reasonably same-population geographically local districts).

.
So, come up with one. One that makes each district more or less the same size. Indeed, Prop 77 alludes to such a formula, but still requires the retired judges. The debate swirling around that Prop seemed to say that without a deliberative body to make some decisions, no purely mathematical forumla could work. I don't know myself, but AFAIK so far, no one has come up with one that works, which makes me
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  #29  
Old 11-06-2006, 04:30 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by DrDeth
In fact, that Prop would have perhaps done just the opposite. "Retired Judges" could very well be just as subject to party division as the Legislature, and coudl well have gerrymandered like crazy. From your cite "Sponsors want you to believe Prop. 77 makes government better. Don't be fooled! Read the fine print: Voters lose their right to reject redistricting before it becomes effective; politicians pick judges to draw districts for them; it costs taxpayers millions; and cemented into our Constitution" and one of the other arguments against it was that since the GoP couldn't gerrymander CA districts through the legislature, they'd do it through this Prop.
Quite disengenuous to quote the "against" argument only, and imply that that was the gist of my cite. It's standard practice in CA to have an "against" analysis and a "for" analysis, and both are listed in the voter guide. I don't claim that this would end gerrymandering, but it puts it one step removed from the political process.
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  #30  
Old 11-06-2006, 04:52 PM
The Octagon The Octagon is offline
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Originally Posted by Renob
The GOP is usually portrayed as the bad guys here, but this redistricting pushed by Delay can also be viewed as a correction of Democratic gerrymandering. Texas is a heavily Republican state and yet before this redistricting the Congressional districts still favored Democrats. The legislature failed to rewrite the districts after the 2000 election and a court decided on the lines (I'm not sure what criteria the courts used). Then when the GOP took more decisive control of the legislature in 2002, they decided to rework what they saw as Democratic-gerrymandered districts to reflect the GOP-tilt of the state.
I don't want to GD this, but two wrongs don't make a right. This is a pretty good example of an answer to the OP's question: there is no independent non-partisan body in charge of drawing districts. Whoever's in power makes them, and it makes them to their liking.
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  #31  
Old 11-06-2006, 04:54 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
Quite disengenuous to quote the "against" argument only, and imply that that was the gist of my cite. It's standard practice in CA to have an "against" analysis and a "for" analysis, and both are listed in the voter guide. I don't claim that this would end gerrymandering, but it puts it one step removed from the political process.
Well, sure. But you- for most intents and purposes- used the "for" argument. Anyone going to that cite would see both arguments and could even look at the full text. The point is- perhaps Prop 77 would have made gerrymandering harder, and made redistricting less political- or perhaps the very opposite. The voters shot it down, and it seems like to me they did so out of suspicion that it would have made things worse, not better. We don't really know either way, but there was informed agument on both sides. Thus, your claim "it would likely minimize it" is only one of two sides of the debate. The voters seemed to think otherwise.

Here's a very long but fairly balanced discussion on Prop 77, including dozens of links
http://www.igs.berkeley.edu/library/...stricting.html

Here's an anti-Prop 77 cite:
http://www.betterca.com/prop77
"Prop 77 was put on the ballot by politicians who want to change the Constitutionís redistricting rules and give themselves more power. They want to hand over redistricting to three unelected and unaccountable retired judges. But redistricting California, a diverse state of 37 million people, is too big and too important a job for just three unaccountable retired judges. Giving one set of politicians more power over another is no reason to change the Constitution. Say NO to the Redistricting Power Grab."

I have no real sides in this. My point is that many have argued strongly that Prop 77 would not have minimized political gerrymandering. Perhaps they were wrong, sure. But it ain't a slam dunk either way.
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  #32  
Old 11-06-2006, 04:55 PM
Pleonast Pleonast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
So, come up with one. One that makes each district more or less the same size. Indeed, Prop 77 alludes to such a formula, but still requires the retired judges. The debate swirling around that Prop seemed to say that without a deliberative body to make some decisions, no purely mathematical forumla could work. I don't know myself, but AFAIK so far, no one has come up with one that works, which makes me
No need for a formula. See my earlier post. Just remove everything but the number of people from consideration.

What will keep the redistricting honest? The same process that regulates it now, in terms of the requirement for an equal number of people and the prohibition against using primarily race.
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  #33  
Old 11-06-2006, 05:10 PM
Atticus Finch Atticus Finch is offline
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Why not just put the entire process into the hands of an independent commission? In Australia, our AEC does the job very well. Here's how they handle redistributions of electorates.
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  #34  
Old 11-06-2006, 05:23 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Undesirable does not equal unconstitutional

There is no part of the constitution that is violated by gerrymandering for political gain. There are cases where the practice violates the constitution by attempting to discriminate against a protected class (e.g.: African-Americans), a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. But "Democrat" and "Republican" are not protected classes, nor are you being denied the right to vote.

One could easily argue the biggest "gerrymander" of the entire country is the state of West Virginia (created solely to allow the Unionists of the mountain counties to be represented seperately from the rebellion sympathizers of the lowlands).

As a general rule, gerrymandering is considered by the courts to be outside their sphere of inquiry; it is a "political" question, as it were. And, it is one that a good argument can be made doesn't bother the average joe on the street, given that California's residents soundly defeated an attempt to de-partisanize the process, and a similar attempt in Ohio also went down to ignominious defeat.
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  #35  
Old 11-06-2006, 05:31 PM
DMC DMC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
So, come up with one. One that makes each district more or less the same size. Indeed, Prop 77 alludes to such a formula, but still requires the retired judges. The debate swirling around that Prop seemed to say that without a deliberative body to make some decisions, no purely mathematical forumla could work. I don't know myself, but AFAIK so far, no one has come up with one that works, which makes me
There is software that will do just that (as well as software that lets them gerrymander like a mofo as they do now). Make it open source, so that any bias is apparent, and let it do the job. If you'd like, you could have the three judges do nothing but respond to complaints of perceived bias in the results, to give them something to actually do.
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  #36  
Old 10-28-2012, 12:22 PM
apatriot1 apatriot1 is offline
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It may be illegal

The 15th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution, as represented by the Voter Rights Act of 1965 prohibits voter suppression. However, it's too specific, and doesn't prohibit redistricting for party affiliation. In fact Governor George W. Bush won a case in Texas that went against redistributing for racial advantage to minorities.
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  #37  
Old 10-28-2012, 12:58 PM
jnglmassiv jnglmassiv is offline
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I started reading a few of the replies before I realized this is a six year old thread but it did get me interested. The Illinois Fourth Congressional District is so crazily drawn, it's comical and worth reposting a valid link.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinoi...ional_district

The Illinois 17th is no slouch either:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IL17_109.gif
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  #38  
Old 10-28-2012, 01:25 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Here's the plan I've come up with: Every member of the state legislature is allowed to propose a map. All maps are required to have population within a certain range in each district. For each map, the total length of the boundaries is measured, and the map with the shortest total boundary length wins. If you want, you can make existing geographical boundaries like bodies of water or county lines discounted or free, to encourage the districts to match the existing geography.

It's a nice simple concept that the voters can understand, and if either party tries to gerrymander too far in their favor, all it takes is one legislator from the other party to propose an objectively better map (and it'd be easy to do so, if real gerrymandering is going on), and the new map would take it.

And you wouldn't have to worry about trusting that a computer algorithm is truly optimal, or about the programmers who wrote the algorithm. Individual legislators (or more likely, members of the public working with them) could use any algorithm they liked, and you're not worried about getting the fairest map possible, just the best one out of those submitted.
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  #39  
Old 10-28-2012, 01:51 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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I repeat my post from 2006. It isn't unconstitutional because it doesn't violate the constitution of the United States. Whether it is a good, bad, or otherwise idea is beside the point.
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  #40  
Old 10-28-2012, 01:58 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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The problem is some degree of gerrymandering is inevitable. Florida's 4th congressional district is designed to create a Republican majority that can outvote a Democratic minority. If you redesigned the district more "fairly" wouldn't you have a Democratic majority outvoting a Republican minority?

Suppose you have a state where 60% of the voters belong to one party and 40% belong to the other. Do you design each district to reflect this 60/40 split? The result is the 40% party elects nobody.

On the subject of gerrymandered districts, I was living in Beacon, NY back when this thread was new. At the time it was part of NY's 22nd District. I was astonished to find I was in the same Congressional District as Ithaca - a city that's 180 miles away. (Beacon has since been redistricted.)
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  #41  
Old 10-28-2012, 03:56 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
For each map, the total length of the boundaries is measured, and the map with the shortest total boundary length wins.
I wonder if the coastline paradox might be a factor. You'd get disagreements about the true length of certain boundaries.
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  #42  
Old 10-28-2012, 04:31 PM
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Here's a map which shows explicitly that Houston's nine Congressional districts included five with 2002 Democratic vote of at least 43%, but only three after boundaries were redrawn. That map is from an interesting article which gives further examples of egregious Texas gerrymandering, and proposes an automatic tamper-proof districting algorithm.

(I'm not sure there is any simple antidote to the gerrymandering problem. After all, grouping similar people together has merit -- at there other extreme, the districts in a state with 52-48 party split would all have 52-48 split, and only one party would be elected.)
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:32 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Here's a map which shows explicitly that Houston's nine Congressional districts included five with 2002 Democratic vote of at least 43%, but only three after boundaries were redrawn. That map is from an interesting article which gives further examples of egregious Texas gerrymandering, and proposes an automatic tamper-proof districting algorithm.

(I'm not sure there is any simple antidote to the gerrymandering problem. After all, grouping similar people together has merit -- at there other extreme, the districts in a state with 52-48 party split would all have 52-48 split, and only one party would be elected.)
It's an interesting approach. But certainly not a perfect one. Look at this map from their website and how they point out how Austin was divided up between three districts to put its citizens in a majority in each of those districts.

Now look at their proposed map for Arkansas. Guess what's located at the intersection of those four districts? The Little Rock metropolitan area. Like Austin, Little Rock just had its voters split up among several different mostly rural districts. (And just so you don't think this is a fluke, their plan would do the same thing with Albuquerque in New Mexico.)

Last edited by Little Nemo; 10-28-2012 at 07:35 PM..
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:50 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quoth tellyworth:

I wonder if the coastline paradox might be a factor. You'd get disagreements about the true length of certain boundaries.
It shouldn't be a problem. Boundaries established by humans aren't generally exactly along natural features like rivers or coastlines: Usually, they're straight lines or simple curves between benchmarks, so as to approximate the natural features. You can specify boundaries that are arbitrarily or even infinitely long, but in this scenario the map-makers are trying to make boundaries that are as short as possible, so they naturally wouldn't do that.
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