You’ve Been Gerrymandered

Just to demonstrate that gerrymandering slices both ways…

Republicans of Legislative District 15

            FROM THE MALL TO THE MOUNTAINS

The Washington Post put the case for reform of Maryland’s electoral map rather well in a November 16 editorial chastising Democrats for their “…grotesque gerrymandering of the state’s congressional districts…” As the Post said “…the congressional map they drew following the 2010 census is a study in political cynicism…a crazy quilt of comically contrived districts in which voters are treated as pawns in an insiders’ game.”

Not Bethesda Not Bethesda

Indeed, when you next go shopping at Montgomery Mall pause a moment and reflect that you are literally standing on the eastern edge of the Sixth Congressional District and that the western edge is closer to Pittsburgh than Bethesda. Where, you might ask, is the common interest that argues for such an oddly-shaped district?

The analytics firm Azavea mapped all 435 U.S. congressional districts to determine the degree of gerrymandering…

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Samantha Bee discovers Gerrymandering in Austin, Texas

DailyShow screen grab Samantha BeeLove Samantha Bee! And wouldn’t want to contemplate life without The Daily Show.

This isn’t one of her/their best (in general the Daily Show seems to be weakly pandering to Austin’s self-conscious hipster-ism) but it does bring out the absurdity of redistricting in the Lone (Red) Star State. But check it out…

The Daily Show 2014- South by South Mess: Austin’s Real Weirdness

And if you want some details behind what they’re talking about, check out these previous posts…

LLoyd Doggett and the Winnebago District (this is the guy Samantha says looks like he could fire your father)

Hands-Off Redistricting and Minority Voices

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The Economist Swings and Misses on Redistricting

SWING AND A MISSThe Economist squandered precious public attention on the issue of gerrymandering in this week’s edition by bringing it up in a major article (subscription required), and then sloppily dismissing it. The venerable rag’s parting advice to Americans is to stop being so partisan yourselves, and just live with it until one party controls both the legislature and the presidency so something will finally get done. (“Something” is left undefined.)

Where to begin? Continue reading

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Gerrymandering in Florida: “Fun”, but None of Your Business

How is it possible that Florida, where a citizen-driven state constitutional amendment solemnly prohibits gerrymandering, ended up with what an expert statistician has called the most partisanly gerrymandered map he had every seen? Read the Orlando Sentinel article, and note the testimony of Jonathan Katz, of the California Institute of Technology, and Jonathan Rodden of Stanford. The academics were testifying as part of a legal challenge by voting rights activists of the suspicious process by which Florida’s Republican-run legislature, apparently in league with Republican party operatives. Continue reading

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Everyone’s concerned, but “Hands-Off” is not in the discussion

Is the public at large knowledgeable of and concerned about Gerrymandering? A quick scan of polling in the past year would indicate there is both broad understanding and broad concern about what it is doing to our country, and that something should be done.

Last November, Harris Interactive, after noting that only 4% of Americans give a positive assessment of Congress (an historic low) goes on to state:

[O]ver seven in ten Americans believe (71% – 48% strongly so) that those who stand to benefit from redrawing congressional districts should not have a say in how they are redrawn. Continue reading

Posted in california, north carolina, OPRA, Politics of Redistricting | 2 Comments

From Idea to Advocacy

taking action

I am happy to accept Noah Kennedy’s invitation to contribute to his blog in spite of the fact that I have no credentials in math, cartography, or computer software. What I can offer readers is a passionate interest in seeing reform of gerrymandering across the US before the next census. Before I tell you who I am and how you might help tip our country to meaningful reform, I will try to quickly answer a few FAQ’s that may come to mind.

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Keystone State Gerrymandering

Really funny example I ran across this morning: take a look at this Keystone Politics post from last week. The writer lifts Pennsylvania’s State Senator Daylin Leach‘s Facebook page entry on a real-world experiment Leach made about redistricting. (I confirmed with Senator Leach that this is indeed his work.)

Keystone Gerrymandered 2 ways Continue reading

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