51

This is a rather simple mathematical exercise. If you allow me total freedom to draw districts within the current requirements, I can place anyone in any district I want provided they have equal population in the end. Connectedness in two dimensions is not enough of a barrier to stop this. In that case, my best bet is to fill as many districts as possible ...


26

Republican Party had an unfair advantage in elections for the House of Representatives. This advantage would be geographic. Well, "Fair" is in the eye of the beholder :) But the geographic advantage in the House of Representatives is undisputably there. FiveThirtyEight covers it in detail in Feb 2103 post "Did Democrats Get Lucky in the Electoral ...


18

Yes, there are mechanisms of varying effectiveness. For example, in California, when you apply for an absentee ballot, your name is removed from the list of voters at the polling place. However, you may apply for an absentee ballot up to one week before the election -- which seems to be the standard for all states which I found information for, so far. By ...


17

The problem here is that "one person one vote" can be based on residents rather than citizens or voters. So if you could assign people purely arbitrarily, you could fill up your districts with non-voters such that only a small number of voters are required. In theory, one voter and eight hundred thousand non-voters per district would work. Pack all the ...


15

Yes, everyone complains about gerrymandering when the gerrymandering doesn't help them. To answer your questions specifically, there is an ongoing case in Maryland where the Democrats are accused of using gerrymandering to unseat Republican representative Roscoe Bartlett.


12

Right off the bat, it's important to note that since 1931, Democrats have won 31 of the last 41 House elections, historically by wide margins. So if they are playing with a disadvantage, they handle themselves pretty well. It is true that people representing urban areas tend to get comically large margins of victory. But Republicans in rural areas tend to ...


10

Historically, there are two competing principles at work in figuring out districts: You want about the same population in each district This principle was enshrined in US Court law in Baker v. Carr an Wesberry v. Sanders. Malapportionment is inherently unfair. You want communities of interest not to be divided. That said, there is something to be said ...


9

Extremley. The practice is sometimes referred to as "parachuting candidates". All the major parties do it.


8

Has the Republican party ever seen the same sort of disparity that is quoted in the above Reuters article on Wisconsin? Despite receiving 51 percent of the votes statewide in 2012, Democrats won only 39 of 99 Assembly seats. In 2014, Republicans won roughly the same percentage of votes statewide, but won 63 seats, a 24-seat disparity, judges wrote. ...


6

Votes in lost circumscriptions count toward the headline percentage of the popular vote you will hear about after the general election and also increase the amount of funding the party will be able to claim from the state (in the UK and elsewhere there is some state funding for political parties based in part on the number of votes gained in the last ...


5

I would also like to know how these super districts would be free of gerrymandering. Or would the larger district requirement just make it more difficult to gerrymander effectively? If you get right down to the marrow of it, gerrymandering is essentially a sophisticated means of exploiting rounding errors in a crude historical method of determining a ...


5

Definitions: Your State's Laws Congressional boundaries are set by states, not the federal government. According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State you can find the current definitions here (2011 Session Laws, Chapter 152, Section 3). An example definition from Massachusetts is: Bristol and Norfolk - Consisting of the city of Attleboro, ward 3, ...


5

The Daily Kos reports that Donald Trump and a Republican Representative won 218 congressional districts in 2016. That's an absolute majority. Trump-Republican 218 Trump-Democrat 12 Clinton-Republican 23 Clinton-Democrat 182 So we can see that Trump received a plurality of the vote in 230 congressional districts while the Republican ...


4

You already know the answer: It is, indeed, "just a legacy of a time when it was impossible". Part of that legacy though is people not understanding what computers can do. I wrote automated redistricting software ( http://autoredistrict.org ) and I have been pushing for its use. One of my main difficulties has been people who didn't think it can do all ...


4

The 14th amendment includes: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State ...


4

Gerrymandering in general is not unconstitutional (and I have not hear anyone seriously argue that it should be). Your question is likely spurred by recent SCOTUS looking into what is usually labeled extreme partisan gerrymandering in Gill vs Whitford, also known as Wisconsin partisan gerrymandering case. The specific theory of the cases like that ...


3

Los Angeles Wikipedia's page for California's Congressional districts will tell you the historical boundaries from 2002-2010. You can then work backwards from those to find districts from Los Angeles in 1980. For example, if you look at the map, you will see that the 31st district was in Los Angeles in 2002. The Wikipedia page says that the 31st was ...


3

The very informative answer given by "Relaxed" covers all the main points, but is a little off the mark in one small respect, which I'd like to expand on. When it comes to finding candidates to contest unwinnable seats a party does not usually have to seek out party members who are committed enough to stand yet don't mind forgoing a political career by ...


3

In theory, if the stars align perfectly, one can gerrymander a 50-50 vote to win 11 out of 12 districts. This can be done by drawing the district boundaries so that one district has 61% of voters supporting your opponents, and the other 11 have only 49% supporting your opponents. In practice, it will come down to how tightly packed, geographically, your ...


3

Actually, the key to successful gerrymandering is not spreading out the votes of the controlling party but concentrating the votes of the minority. Say that voters have equal inclination to vote for each party, (that is the electorate is split 50-50 but with guaranteed loyalty to their party), but that one party completely controls redistricting. In that ...


3

One of the problems is that people look at Gerrymandering from the lens of Republicans vs Democrats. It's not - it's a terrible example of the two parties working together. Imagine you belong to Team Yellow, and you've been elected - but it was kinda close. There's a heavy Pro-Purple area along the northern edge of your district that nearly cost you your ...


3

You would want to look at precinct votes for County X. In the United States, Precincts are the smallest possible political division, and are below county level government. They are important in that precincts will encompass a specific area or population size that typically will repersent an average of 1,100 voters (with the largest Precincts in Washington ...


2

It is easy to see that in theory there is no such guarantee (unless there are only two districts), as there is nothing to strictly prevent a different party winning in each district. Thus the theoretical maximum number of parties is given my the number of districts. Of course in practice it is very unlikely that there will be more than two or three big ...


2

The Republicans have an advantage insofar they control a large number of "small" (by population) Western states (the two Dakotas come to mind), that have only one Congressman based on population, but two Senators, hence three electoral votes. This compares to a large Democratic state like California, with 52 Congressmen, whose two Senators bring the ...


2

Do Republicans have a geographic advantage? Is all of this really true? Yes. Republicans, due to the popularity they enjoy in rural areas, have been able to gain a number of advantages in Congress (both the House of Representatives and the Senate) and various State legislatures including: A disproportionate number of Representatives in the House for ...


2

In gerrymandering we have 2 divisions to manipulate; blue vs red voters, and voters vs non-voters. 10% of the vote, 83% of the seats Consider 12 seats, a 29% turnout and a 90% blue (10% red) vote. If we pack the (26.1%) blue voters into 3 seats, reds win 9/12 seats. However, what if we pack 2 blue seats? That would absorb 16.7% out of the 26.1% of blue ...


1

STV vs. IRV The main changes that I've read about were that it would introduce instant-runoff style ranked choice voting and that it would put districting in the hands of an independent commission that would create much larger districts with multiple representatives versus single representative districts that currently exist. In a multiple ...


1

For example, if I live in District 1, can I only vote for candidates in District 1? Yes, this. I've never voted in New Jersey, but in most places, your entire precinct will be in the same district and only able to vote in the races that apply to it. You won't even see district 2 candidates on the ballot. Only one district per voter is a matter of ...


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