Skip to comments.The Task of Redistricting: A Freeper's Observation
Posted on 10/23/2001 3:09:44 PM PDT by E.G.C.
As I'm sure a lot of you are well aware, work is underway in a number of states across the country to redraw various legislative boundaries. This process, called redistricting is required by law based on something called a census, which is a periodic enumeration of the population done every 10 years.
Revising of boundaries is something which takes place in a lot of things. For example, when the Federal Communications Commision replaced the Emergency Broadcast System with the Emergency Alert System back in 1997, state emergency communications commitiees revised operational area boundaries based on changing broadcasters and weather service station coverage areas. In this case the process of redistricting is being done based on changing population numbers. The idea here is try to maintain the concept of "one man, one vote".
Here in Oklahoma, we are about to lose one congressional district.(We once had nine). There are a number of redistricting proposals floating around the table. One of the proposals would place Lawton & Fort Sill into two different congressional districts while another would place them both into the same district. Most of the plans would have J.C. Watts and Ernest Istook taking on each other for a seat. Most of the plans have my county being taken out of Watt's district and moved into Wes Watkins district.(He is also a conservative Republican) In the state senate, The district I live in is represented by a good conservative Republican. Under the plan which was passed however, our neighboring county to the South as well the Northern part of our county seat was taken out this district and put into one which has a rep a liberal Democrat.
In our neighboring state of Texas a redistricting plan proposed by Democrats was struck down by a Texas court. That's good news for our side. Again, the idea here is "one man, one vote". Being on this website has allowed me the opportunity to look at how the redistricting is going in other parts of the country. Our side is winning in a number of places but is clearly being cheated out in others based on what I've seen.
Whatever happens with these turns of events, there are a few things that need to be impressed on those representing us in Congress and our state legislatures. They are representing us, not just those who voted for them, but also those who did not as well as those who don't share their political beliefs. Universal respect from your constituents is not a constitutional right. It is not something you gain through threats or intimidation. It is something that has to be earned, and the way you earn it is by recognizing and realizing that you are represnting everyone. That our tax dollars are paying for your saleries. And that it is you who work for us, not the other way around. And if you expect to stay in office, you have to show some respect for your constituents. There is no constitutional obligation for your constituent to respect you, You have to earn that respect.
This article joins all my other articles as being bookmarked on my profile page where you can check all my other articles. I will now defer to everyone else for comments.
A good way to judge how fair a state's congressional map is, is to look at the popular congressional statewide vote totals per party, e.g., 52% GOP, 48% Dem, and compare that ratio to the party composition of the state's congresiional delegation, e.g., 6 GOP/5 Dem. The closer the two ratios are to each other, the fairer, and less partisan the map, and converserly, the greater the disparity between the two ratios, the more partisan the map. The Texas map of the last ten years is an example of the latter -- the GOP gets more congressional votes statewide, but the Texas congressional delegation is currently split 17/13 in favor of the Dems. This was accomplished by packing Republican voters into a limited number of GOP supermajority districts, while spreading Dem voters across a greater number of modestly Dem districts. Arizona is another example of a partisanly gerrymandered state, only in the GOP's favor, with a 5/1 delegation split in favor of the GOP, in contrast to a popular statewide 60%/40% vote split in the GOP's favor. Texas was controlled by the Dems 10 years ago, and Arizona was controlled by the GOP, hence the partisan maps.
I wonder if it would be possible to do some variation of the 'one cuts; the other chooses' strategy here? Obviously that strategy won't work in its normal form (since once the districts are cut out, it's the distribution of voters which 'chooses' who gets each district) but I wonder if something like it might. I'll have to think about that.
A good way to judge how fair a state's congressional map is, is to look at the popular congressional statewide vote totals per party, e.g., 52% GOP, 48% Dem, and compare that ratio to the party composition of the state's congresiional delegation, e.g., 6 GOP/5 Dem. The closer the two ratios are to each other, the fairer, and less partisan the map, and converserly, the greater the disparity between the two ratios, the more partisan the map.
While it might be 'fairest' for the ratio of party representation to be proportional to the ratio of party votes, a disparity between the two hardly indicates a 'partisan' map. Indeed, imagine that in a state with ten districts, voters were placed into the districts on the basis of the last digit of their SSN. Such a 'mapping' could hardly be regarded as 'partisan', but if either party holds more than 51-52% of the vote it's likely that such a 'mapping' would give that party 100% of the representation.
Thanks for your posts in this thread.
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