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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: 50 Equal States on: Today at 08:12:52 am
I'm not a fan of the link from Ventura to the Antelope Valley to Long Beach. I'd rather split LA city at the Hollywood Hills. The hills extend east to west and form a natural break across the county. That puts the San Fernando Valley with Ventura, Antelope Valley and the San Gabriel Valley. Southern LA would go with Long Beach and the SE LA county suburbs. The split is very close to even.

2  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Mid-2014 county population estimates out tomorrow, March 26 on: Today at 06:55:16 am
Here's the press release from the Census Bureau. The complete set of files aren't up yet.
3  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Mid Atlantic Madness on: March 23, 2015, 09:49:31 pm
Train's map is very similar to one I posted a couple of years when train and Torie were both looking at MD. Note that this was before UCCs and with microchops, but some of the same problems show up with the MSAs here.

As I noted at the outset, the real issue comes to the existence of chops. One reason I start with apportionment regions is to identify where I can conserve on chops. In this case I looked at the regions with an eye towards MSA preservation, but I will suggest that there must be at least one CD and one region that spans the MSAs. The Washington MSA counties down the western shore but without Frederick are just barely above 3 CDs and with one microchop can be divided nicely within the 0.5% population limit. By putting all of Glen Burnie into the Baltimore city CD I was able to avoid any other chops for that CD or the Anne Arundel-Howard CD. Eliminating those two chops also has the effect of reducing the erosity by 1 point. I can probably clean up the line between CD 4 and 5 with some work, but the precincts aren't the best unit to match city lines. Edited to reflect a better line through PG that avoids city splits and keeps both CDs within 0.5%.



For the record the BVAPs for CD 4, 5, and 7 are 41.2% (plurality), 54.9% and 53.1%. The partisan distribution is 5D, 1e (D+0.1%), 2R for a polarization of 14 and a skew of 0 after accounting for the expected Dem lean.

On the same thread I also put up this plan that improves the UCC chop for Balto, but it would be disallowed since the ferry from Point Lookout is seasonal.

If the Smith Island ferry crossing counts as a connection, then it is possible to eliminate the microchop so that there are just the five main chops This substantially reduces the population inequality. In the plan below the range drops from 7066 to 3820 which corresponds to an inequality score change from 13 to 8. The increased erosity created by the split of the ES is compensated by reductions elsewhere so that the erosity is the same as for my previous plan adjusting for the ferry.

There is also a noticeable increase in competitiveness with the seats going 3D, 2d (D+1.9, D+5.2), 2e (D+0.1, R+1.2), 1R. That's a 4 point improvement though it does create a 1 point skew for the Dems.


4  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Mid Atlantic Madness on: March 23, 2015, 09:24:18 pm
Macrochops are defined by the whole county, not by the individual pieces. If the remainder after removing the largest district fragment is greater than 5% of a district then it's a macrochop. Based on that both Montco and Baltco are macrochopped and would have erosity measured based on county subdivisions as applied to all district fragments.
5  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 23, 2015, 06:23:05 am
You  have a double chop of Paradise. One precinct from your NV-4 is entirely within Paradise, and two or three more have most of their population in Paradise. I could have done a double chop of Paradise too, but decided it better to do the second chop in another jurisdiction (not sure of the name of the place directly east of Las Vegas).

Thanks for the catch. I thought I had all overlapping precincts. If I place that one in CD 1 the population is still OK. If I place the overlapping precincts (or some fraction of them) in CD 1 then CD 4 needs to pick up the shore of Lake Mead and Moapa Valley to rebalance the population with some loss of erosity (but not that much since it's largely open desert). That gets the Clark muni chop back to 1.

Well, another difficulty in NV (and, really, in much of the South and West) is that precincts don't line up with town lines.  Like, okay, you have to split Paradise because of all the precincts it shares with Enterprise and Winchester. 

I would think that there could, instead, be some sort of effort to fudge a standardized boundary that counts as non-chopped, and which is as close to actual as you can get.  (And, perhaps, that effort might want to make sure to distinguish between what are actual incorporated towns, and what are just CDPs.)

Cutting the voting districts to conform to town boundaries would be a good thing to do in reality... but we can't do so here in DRA.  You need to dig into the weeds of GIS to get it done.

...

As for those NV counties where the center of population and county seat are disconnected... possibly we could cut them and make fictitious counties which are internally contiguous, and draw based on that?
You could split the precincts on the city boundaries.



We are constrained to DRA for mapping software, and the 2010 data is given by VTD. If you know of another free web product that has finer granularity, I'm sure we'll be interested.
6  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 22, 2015, 11:14:58 pm
You  have a double chop of Paradise. One precinct from your NV-4 is entirely within Paradise, and two or three more have most of their population in Paradise. I could have done a double chop of Paradise too, but decided it better to do the second chop in another jurisdiction (not sure of the name of the place directly east of Las Vegas).

Thanks for the catch. I thought I had all overlapping precincts. If I place that one in CD 1 the population is still OK. If I place the overlapping precincts (or some fraction of them) in CD 1 then CD 4 needs to pick up the shore of Lake Mead and Moapa Valley to rebalance the population with some loss of erosity (but not that much since it's largely open desert). That gets the Clark muni chop back to 1.

Well, another difficulty in NV (and, really, in much of the South and West) is that precincts don't line up with town lines.  Like, okay, you have to split Paradise because of all the precincts it shares with Enterprise and Winchester. 

I would think that there could, instead, be some sort of effort to fudge a standardized boundary that counts as non-chopped, and which is as close to actual as you can get.  (And, perhaps, that effort might want to make sure to distinguish between what are actual incorporated towns, and what are just CDPs.)

Cutting the voting districts to conform to town boundaries would be a good thing to do in reality... but we can't do so here in DRA.  You need to dig into the weeds of GIS to get it done.

...

As for those NV counties where the center of population and county seat are disconnected... possibly we could cut them and make fictitious counties which are internally contiguous, and draw based on that?

For the VA maps I was making a best approximation to the actual lines using precincts, and I used the same method for the Detroit hoods. The mapping exercise shouldn't be dependent on the chance that certain jurisdictions add up exactly, so as long as there is agreement about the precinct-level boundaries in advance then the task is a fair representation of what would happen with actual boundaries at a commission.

To calculate erosity it is necessary to fully assign every precinct to a county subdivision. Clark county only has 5 recognized cities: Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite, and North Las Vegas. All the other communities on DRA are unincorporated Census-designated places (CDPs). That's part of why the precincts overlap those boundaries. Presumably areas not in a city or CDP have to be assigned to a CDP.

My view of the internally disconnected counties is to treat them as whole counties, but allow state highway connections to the county through the disconnected parts as shown by the yellow lines. Cutting yellow lines doesn't add to erosity, nor does a chop that separates the disconnected parts. A chop is still a chop however.
7  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: GOP-dominated suburbs on: March 22, 2015, 10:41:07 pm
DKE coined the phrase "Circle of Ignorance" for Waukesha/Ozaukee/Washington counties. It's pretty much stuck and I usually use it when I talk about that area.

These counties have some of the highest educational levels in the state (along with Dane County). Its literally wrong to call them that.


I'm curious ElectionsGuy.  How would the average WOW county resident respond to the following questions?
1. Do you believe the Earth is 6000 years old?
2. Do you believe in evolution?
3. Do you believe in global warming?

I assume the answers would be No, Yes, No for a county with those demographics, but it seems oddly conservative for a wealthy suburb.....is it super religious/fundie there?

I would agree. These suburbs are no more religious than the rest of Wisconsin, and if they're (as a whole) any kind of Republican voter, they're the most informed and intelligent. The turnout rates are so high its almost unreal. Highly educated and wealthy people who are consistently conservative is something this forum doesn't want to admit. And while they would probably vote against gay marriage if it was up on a vote, they would also vote much more overwhelmingly against a tax increase. People who think these Republican counties are ignorant hellholes full of SoCons are just wrong.

They sound like the Seattle suburbs in the 80s and most of the 90s, in that case.

There are lots of suburbs of the northern cities that fit that description - middle-class to wealthy, educated, fiscally conservative, Republican. They are moderate on social issues, meaning that they are slow to change from traditional views, but not resistant when the tide is moving since it isn't social issues that define them. They have far less income inequality (eg gini coefficient) than the central city or the rural areas near them. They prefer to keep things the way they are until that way hurts their family.
8  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 22, 2015, 06:00:26 pm
You  have a double chop of Paradise. One precinct from your NV-4 is entirely within Paradise, and two or three more have most of their population in Paradise. I could have done a double chop of Paradise too, but decided it better to do the second chop in another jurisdiction (not sure of the name of the place directly east of Las Vegas).

Thanks for the catch. I thought I had all overlapping precincts. If I place that one in CD 1 the population is still OK. If I place the overlapping precincts (or some fraction of them) in CD 1 then CD 4 needs to pick up the shore of Lake Mead and Moapa Valley to rebalance the population with some loss of erosity (but not that much since it's largely open desert). That gets the Clark muni chop back to 1.
9  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 22, 2015, 03:37:35 pm
Indeed the connections are not friendly in NV. There are two counties where a majority of the population is disconnected from the seat of government (Esmeralda and Nye). Here is the connection map I put together last year. The yellow lines indicate state highway connections to the isolated population centers, and could be used to establish internal connectivity.



If one is willing to give up a county chop to reduce erosity, then Henderson can be linked to Nye. Within Clark this only chops Paradise. With higher inequality, Mineral could be moved to CD 2.


10  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: 50 Equal States on: March 21, 2015, 03:53:52 pm


Some changes. I think it looks much better now.

If only you could get rid of that grey finger in central NY.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Did Harold and the Purple Crayon blow your mind as a kid? on: March 21, 2015, 02:25:33 pm
I feel old, I was born in 88. Don't think I remember Harold though it sounds awesome.

Don't feel old. I was born in 58, and though the book would be appropriate to my generation (published in 1955) I was never exposed to it.
12  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 21, 2015, 11:46:44 am
I gave you the end of free microchops and start of penalties for UCC underpacks, so I think have been eminently reasonable when I comes to good ideas that have demonstrable value. However on this one there is public value to disallow any districts where you can't drive from one part of the district to another without passing through other districts. The only exception I consider is when a county is disconnected internally due to water, deserts or mountains and the plan keeps the county whole. As to the public acceptance I will simply cite the Washington state statute on redistricting (RCW 44.05.090), "Areas separated by geographical boundaries or artificial barriers that prevent transportation within a district should not be deemed contiguous." That is very good public policy IMO and has been recommended at many panels I have attended as a strong tool to fight gerrymandering.
What is an example of either a geographical boundary or artificial barrier that prevents transportation within a district?

In WA it is primarily the Cascades where major highways are needed to justify a link, and Puget Sound where only ferries and bridges count as connections. In principle it can apply to any other part of geography that interrupts transportation.
The Cascades and Puget Sound are not artificial barriers.

The two I listed are geographical. I believe that an example of an artificial barrier would be a road along a boundary between two areas without a road that separately connects into each of those areas.
13  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 20, 2015, 10:17:45 pm
I gave you the end of free microchops and start of penalties for UCC underpacks, so I think have been eminently reasonable when I comes to good ideas that have demonstrable value. However on this one there is public value to disallow any districts where you can't drive from one part of the district to another without passing through other districts. The only exception I consider is when a county is disconnected internally due to water, deserts or mountains and the plan keeps the county whole. As to the public acceptance I will simply cite the Washington state statute on redistricting (RCW 44.05.090), "Areas separated by geographical boundaries or artificial barriers that prevent transportation within a district should not be deemed contiguous." That is very good public policy IMO and has been recommended at many panels I have attended as a strong tool to fight gerrymandering.
What is an example of either a geographical boundary or artificial barrier that prevents transportation within a district?

In WA it is primarily the Cascades where major highways are needed to justify a link, and Puget Sound where only ferries and bridges count as connections. In principle it can apply to any other part of geography that interrupts transportation.
14  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 20, 2015, 05:25:54 pm
I concede that my map chops up Pinal, and as I said in my comment on that map I could trade the Pinal chop for chops of the large burbs around Phoenix and I opted for the former, but I'm not wedded to it. For example your offering without the bridge has a pretty nasty chop of Glendale. I'm not sure my map's really that much more erose than yours, and if I chopped some burbs it might well match or betters yours in erosity. We'd have to agree on county subdivisions within the large counties to make a definitive determination.

I gave you the end of free microchops and start of penalties for UCC underpacks, so I think have been eminently reasonable when I comes to good ideas that have demonstrable value. However on this one there is public value to disallow any districts where you can't drive from one part of the district to another without passing through other districts. The only exception I consider is when a county is disconnected internally due to water, deserts or mountains and the plan keeps the county whole. As to the public acceptance I will simply cite the Washington state statute on redistricting (RCW 44.05.090), "Areas separated by geographical boundaries or artificial barriers that prevent transportation within a district should not be deemed contiguous." That is very good public policy IMO and has been recommended at many panels I have attended as a strong tool to fight gerrymandering.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Magic car tree: Yes or No ? on: March 19, 2015, 07:48:35 pm
I have a parking permit hanging from my mirror.
16  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: March 18, 2015, 12:37:26 pm
So you are spreading the extra 0.3% in the non-compliant regions over all 10 districts. Links imply pairwise adjustments, but you use a globally determined correction. It works mathematically, but the graph isn't really needed to apply it in the way it would be if the adjustments were calculated on a pairwise basis. The only use for the graph is to determine if there are adjacent districts that are both in deficit or surplus implying that there is an extra shift to pass through population.
In this case that is true, because all non-compliant regions were placed in a single area.  The effect of doing so will be to better equalize equality among all districts.  Hopefully this will produce plans with pretty good final equality, but without as much splitting up of counties.

This is where I'm confused again. It looks like you are suggesting that that the shifts are actually what will be put in the plan. I thought the shifts were just a scoring tool for submitted plans. If they are just for scoring, then the actual shifts will be different from the calculated shifts. If the system imposes certain shifts between regions, we are back to the problem of scoring actual plans for the state that are submitted.

A scoring system has to be able to evaluate a plan for all the districts in the state. For instance it should be able to evaluate the one enacted into law. Otherwise it is a process to produce a plan, not a scoring system to evaluate plans.
The shifts are what will be placed in a Stage 1 Plan, and is what they will be evaluated on.  The actual placement of the adjustment will come in Stage 2.  The shifts identified in Stage 1 will be used as targets for Stage 2 - and can be used to choose among alternatives.

For example, your plan would set a shift of 5,822 from Region 8 (Detroit) to Region (7) Ann Arbor.  The actual transfer could come from Livingston, Oakland, or Wayne counties in to Washtenaw County.

When I scored the Torie and train plans, I removed their county fragments, but used them to identify the placement of inter-regional shifts.  The size of the inter-regional shifts was calculated on the whole-county region populations.  They will be similar to, but not identical to the size of the county fragments in the plan.

I don't see why the scoring system has to be able score the final plan enacted into law.

A scoring system should be able to take any submitted plan and either evaluate it with a score or scores or reject it as failing a specific rule of construction. A standard point of reference is to compare submitted plans to the one enacted into law.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Tony's Back in Town: University Choice (Attention Whoring) on: March 18, 2015, 12:09:15 pm
What is your research project?

Right now, I'm working on the impact of voter turnout inequalities on US partisan competition since the 1970s. But I'm interested in a broad range of issues. Roughly speaking, I'd like to do research on electoral sociology in Western democracy.

I'll have to talk to more professors before I can choose between UCLA and Duke. At this point, they both seem pretty satisfactory academically.

I'm surprised you haven't looked to work with Dr. Michael McDonald (currently at U Florida) who is one of the leading experts on voter turnout and its impact on politics. On top of his main interest he has also worked on open redistricting processes.

I have! He's going to be cited a lot in my Master's Thesis, especially for giving us the best estimates of VEP turnout available. I just didn't think that was enough to make me consider U Florida, for a number of reasons.

Hopefully it wasn't just for location. As a graduate educator I can say that who and what are far more important criteria to select a graduate program on than where.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Tony's Back in Town: University Choice (Attention Whoring) on: March 18, 2015, 07:29:33 am
What is your research project?

Right now, I'm working on the impact of voter turnout inequalities on US partisan competition since the 1970s. But I'm interested in a broad range of issues. Roughly speaking, I'd like to do research on electoral sociology in Western democracy.

I'll have to talk to more professors before I can choose between UCLA and Duke. At this point, they both seem pretty satisfactory academically.

I'm surprised you haven't looked to work with Dr. Michael McDonald (currently at U Florida) who is one of the leading experts on voter turnout and its impact on politics. On top of his main interest he has also worked on open redistricting processes.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: IL-18: Schock resigning on: March 17, 2015, 05:09:13 pm
The first name from the Great Mentioner is Stat Sen. Darin LaHood, Ray LaHood's son.

There are two recent statewide candidates who live in that district - Bill Brady (Gov nominee in 2010 and candidate in 2014) and Jil Tracy (Lt Gov candidate in 2014 with Dillard).
20  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: March 17, 2015, 08:28:51 am
So you are spreading the extra 0.3% in the non-compliant regions over all 10 districts. Links imply pairwise adjustments, but you use a globally determined correction. It works mathematically, but the graph isn't really needed to apply it in the way it would be if the adjustments were calculated on a pairwise basis. The only use for the graph is to determine if there are adjacent districts that are both in deficit or surplus implying that there is an extra shift to pass through population.
In this case that is true, because all non-compliant regions were placed in a single area.  The effect of doing so will be to better equalize equality among all districts.  Hopefully this will produce plans with pretty good final equality, but without as much splitting up of counties.

This is where I'm confused again. It looks like you are suggesting that that the shifts are actually what will be put in the plan. I thought the shifts were just a scoring tool for submitted plans. If they are just for scoring, then the actual shifts will be different from the calculated shifts. If the system imposes certain shifts between regions, we are back to the problem of scoring actual plans for the state that are submitted.

A scoring system has to be able to evaluate a plan for all the districts in the state. For instance it should be able to evaluate the one enacted into law. Otherwise it is a process to produce a plan, not a scoring system to evaluate plans.
21  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: March 16, 2015, 01:29:01 pm
So you are spreading the extra 0.3% in the non-compliant regions over all 10 districts. Links imply pairwise adjustments, but you use a globally determined correction. It works mathematically, but the graph isn't really needed to apply it in the way it would be if the adjustments were calculated on a pairwise basis. The only use for the graph is to determine if there are adjacent districts that are both in deficit or surplus implying that there is an extra shift to pass through population.
22  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: March 16, 2015, 08:43:47 am
This is another Muon2 map from 2013.



Region 1 (UP and Northern LP) and Region 5 (Flint) are just outside the 0.5% tolerances.

I'm not sure I follow how you get these shifts. If populations are equalized between regions with shifts, then shouldn't the Detroit are shift out slightly more than 1.8% to the other two regions (2.0%) leaving all three slightly over population?

Are the choices of shifts set by algorithm or by the plan submitter. When this was drawn I imagined that the user submitted the shifts. Now it seems that there is an algorithm applied to get the shifts.

That leads to an important question in this process. If there is an algorithm to get the shifts, then the shifts must be taken one at a time (assuming a coded binary operation). If it is an iterative minimization process then there must be a metric to measure whether a shift is used or not. Either way the order of the shifts matters.

For example, a natural choice is to start with region with the greatest deviation and the neighbor with the greatest deviation in the other direction. In this case it would be Detroit to Bay, but Bay can't accommodate all of Detroit's excess, so how much should it shift? If it shifts just what Bay needs (since its the smaller deviation), then does 0.95% go from Detroit to Ann Arbor which would equalize those populations after the first shift? At that point, does the excess from Flint go to Lansing because it has the greatest deviation in the other direction? If the process starts from the direction of the smallest disallowed deviation, then it would seem that 0.1% would shift from Grand Rapids to the UP region. In any simple algorithm based on adjacency I find it hard to get the 0.5% from Flint to jump across to UP - more likely is a 0.2% shift from Flint to Bay and a 0.4% shift from Bay to UP.

Can you describe your algorithm for shifts in discrete steps?
23  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: 50 Equal States on: March 15, 2015, 10:16:47 pm
Nice project. Those black states (particularly in the Delta) are very intense on the map, though.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: MI maps - muon2 scoring on: March 15, 2015, 10:02:14 pm
If there are only 3 districts in Wayne County, it is a matter of necessity.  I don't see the point of assessing what would reasonably perceived as penalty points for doing what is necessary.

There has to be a minimum number of severed links in the erosity score, too. It is easier to count, than to count and subtract the minimum. The raw score for both chop and erosity are just counting exercises.
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 15, 2015, 04:59:10 pm
We will disagree on the highway business. I think it is about far more than CoI as I noted in my comment. Connectivity is a vital notion that goes beyond contiguity and the erosity measure was a bonus for me. I will will stick to the principle that one should be able to conveniently travel between significant populations within a district without going through other districts. I have heard it espoused enough in other venues that I remain confident that it can be sold to policy makers.

Anyway here's a version of AZ that only keeps one HVAP-majority CD (56.8%). There is only one extra cover in the Phoenix UCC and no pack penalties. I had a choice between an extra chop into Pinal or a chop into one of the large suburbs, so I went with the Pinal chop. It turns out that Phoenix has 15 recognized "villages" within the city limits. My CD 7 chops none of those to the extent that precincts allow, and only one of the 15 is chopped between CD 8 and 9. I could have avoided that chop but the erosity would suffer.




Would you really describe this as a "crappy" map?
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