PDA

View Full Version : Florida gerrymandering rebuffed



David G
12-31-2015, 12:24 AM
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-judge-ruling-senate-redistricting-case-post.html


TALLAHASSEE — In a ruling that could dramatically alter the balance of political power in Florida, a Leon Circuit judge adopted Wednesday a map of 40 state Senate (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/topic/politics-government/government/u.s.-senate-ORGOV0000134-topic.html) districts proposed by voter-rights groups.

The new maps give Democrats (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/topic/politics-government/democratic-party-ORGOV0000005-topic.html), who have been politically irrelevant in the Legislature for much of the past 15 years, a chance to regain a majority in the Senate. The plan includes 21 districts that voted for Democrat Barack Obama (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/topic/politics-government/government/barack-obama-PEPLT007408-topic.html)’s re-election in 2012, versus 19 that voted for his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney.

skuthorp
12-31-2015, 02:20 AM
So there is no independent authority that oversees redistributions there? Here with such bodies both state and federal they happen on a regular timescale based on statistical population data and no one questions them, let alone a political party.

Ian McColgin
12-31-2015, 06:11 AM
We have very few states that have managed to make a more or less fair districting process. Just like at the Federal level with the blocking of appointments to the FEC, it's a partisan issue where minority politicians fabricate a legislative majority.

Curtism
01-01-2016, 07:05 AM
So there is no independent authority that oversees redistributions there? Here with such bodies both state and federal they happen on a regular timescale based on statistical population data and no one questions them, let alone a political party.

A couple years back the voters here approved a fair districting amendment to the state constitution and the law makers (who traditionally drew their own lines) went right back to business as usual. Several times now the court has had to step in.

We're seeing why (one of the reasons anyway) one of Scott's first efforts was to expand our supreme court (by double) and have it so the governor gets to appoint the additional jurists. Thankfully that was one of his first and most significant failures. I shudder to think where we'd be otherwise.

Ian McColgin
01-01-2016, 07:57 AM
Fairness. A bold challenge the glib generalities of which fall apart when we get out the maps.

I first got into being part of the process when our state legislature, a corrupt one-party (in name) set of fiefdoms, gerrymandered the congressional districts with the goal of getting rid of Congressman Gerry Studds, Democrat, liberal and first openly gay congressman. In a charming historical irony, Studds was named in honor of his ancestor, that Governor Gerry whose name graced Nast's cartoon that invented the term Gerrymander.

But I digress. The general standard was that to the extent possible, districts should be of similar population size, with boundaries that make sense in terms of historic, political and/or natural communities and features. The devil is in the details. Just to take that part of the Barnstable precinct map - that could affect the racial composition of the town council - the historic concentrations of black and Cape Verdian people was split three ways but the simple solution to that made absolutely no neighborhood sense.

In the end it comes down to building by building, voter address by voter address, negotiation between people who know the ground and who are willing to put aside their own partisan agendae for a system that's a bit crazy and strange on its best days.

The point is that it won't really be done for you. Not by some magical all-fair judiciary. Not by a god-king. Like all politics, we get what we deserve and if we don't participate (voting being the bare minimal threshold of civic duty) people seeking their own gain will. No one can be involved in everything, just as no soldier fights every battle of the war. Except John Wayne of course. Do your part. Fight the enemy in front of you and don't whine. Best you can do.

John Smith
01-01-2016, 08:40 AM
Father Time has proven this.

I have come to my own conclusions about redistricting, and what is fair.

I am curious about what others think in terms of "fairness".

My view is it needs to be done in some way that does not give an advantage to one party or another. I also think a district should be as close to round or square as possible. Maybe no one should live more than some specific distance from the center of it.

Ian McColgin
01-01-2016, 09:40 AM
"not give an advantage to one party or another. I also think a district should be as close to round or square as possible. Maybe no one should live more than some specific distance from the center of it." [#8]

Attempting not to give partisan advantage can lead to results every bit as strange as partisan gerrymandering, or be part of it. Some states have districts carefully worked out to put all of a minority demographic in a district, ostensibly so that "they get to elect one of their own." And "they" do. Just one. And lose all impact in other districts.

Same problem with square or round, especially if one is away from fly-over country. This is why states that do have fairness usually derive that from extensive local knowledge and respect for how communities and local economies are actually formed.

But other things being equal, issues of regular geographic form and distance from district center may have an impact on district lines. Like all matters in a democracy, it's complex and imperfect.

David G
01-01-2016, 01:10 PM
Gentlemen - there is no need for us, here, to reinvent the wheel. As to the overall scheme - an independent commission seems to be the ticket. As to the details - there are several proven versions to choose from Pick one and run with it. It'll be a fight, though, as vested interests will not turn loose of an 'advantage' (no matter how 'unfair') easily.

skuthorp
01-01-2016, 02:56 PM
"Gentlemen - there is no need for us, here, to reinvent the wheel."
http://www.aec.gov.au/electorates/Redistributions/

And a page of blogs and other info…………. if you are interested.
http://www.google.com.au/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=redistribution+and+electoral+commissions+in+Aust ralia&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gfe_rd=cr&ei=JNmGVo2RD7Hu8wf-z6GIDQ