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51  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 25, 2017, 07:26:07 am
This is an alternative cover with 42 whole county groups, that combines Mecklenburg and Union in a two-county group, which permits rearrangement of the groups in south central North Carolina.

Green Unchanged, no overturned districts: 25 groups with 62 districts.

Blue New Groups, no overturned districts: 1 group with one district.

White New groups, overturned districts: 10 groups with 33 districts.

Yellow Unchanged, overturned districts: 6 groups with 30 districts.

Overall, up to 58 (48.3%) districts may have to be redrawn. If we discount the six single-district groups that are in new groups, up to 52 (43.3%) districts may have to be redrawn.

Standard deviation assuming perfect splits of multi-district groups: 2.64%.

Forced county cuts (8 total):

(1) Haywood. One fragment with Jackson-Swain, one with Madison-Yancey.

(2,3) Wilkes. One fragment with Alexander-Yadkin, one with Alleghany, one with Surry.

(4) Stanly. One fragment with Anson-Richmond, one with Montgomery (there are alternative splits possible in this group).

(5) Lee. One fragment with Chatham, one with Harnett.

(6) Robeson. One fragment with Bladen, one with Columbus, and one district wholly within Robeson (there are alternative divisions).

(7) Wayne. One fragment with Sampson, one with Duplin, and one district wholly within Wayne (there are alternative divisions).

(8) Granville. One fragment with Person, one with Vance-Warren.

Number of groups per number of counties (ie there are 16 2-county groups)
1: 11
2: 16
3: 6
4: 6
5: 3

While eliminating (from my 41-group plan) one single-county group, the plan also eliminates one five-county group, and replaces them with three two-county groups.

Number of groups per number of districts (ie there are 11 2-district groups)
1: 14
2: 11
3: 6
4: 5
5: 3
6: 1
11: 1
14: 1

Compared to my 41-group plan, this eliminates one 4-district and one 5-district group, and creates one additional 1-district group, and two additional 3-district groups. It also converts the 12-district Mecklenburg group to a a 14-district Mecklenburg-Union group.

32 counties are in 11 single-member, multi-county groups. All such groups/districts are consistent with the North Carolina constitution. There are an additional 3 single-member, single-county groups.
52  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Population Growth in CSAs and Metropolitan Areas, 1900-2016 on: July 25, 2017, 03:30:12 am
Why is Ulster County PA part of the New York CSA?

Are there people in Ulster County who actually commute to NYC or spend a decent amount of time there?

Jimrtex can probably give you the technical answer, but as I understand it, CSA borders are based on commuting patterns.  They change every 5 years, and were last changed for 2012.  We're due for a 2017 update soon, probably in January 2018.

Enough Ulster County residents probably commute to Dutchess County (in the NY MSA) or White Plains, Westchester County to justify CSA status, but not Metro status.  And there might even be a few Ulster County residents who commute all the way to NYC on Metro North from Poughkeepsie, which is right across the Mid-Hudson Bridge from southern Ulster.  Ulster is in the NYC TV market, so including it in the CSA isn't terribly strange to me, anyway.

The stranger county to me is Carbon, PA, which is in the Allentown-Bethlehem Metro being in the CSA.  I doubt many people commute to NYC from there.  But enough probably commute to Lehigh County, PA to put it in the Allentown Metro, and enough Lehigh/Northampton County, PA residents probably commute to NYC or its NJ suburbs to put the Allentown MSA in the CSA.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Micropolitan Statistical Areas are collectively known as Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSA) - the distinction between Metropolitan and Micropolitan is population, their delineation is the same.

A CBSA is comprised of Central Counties and Outlying Counties. Counties qualify to be a central county by having half the population in urban areas, or containing 5000 persons of an urban area of at least 10,000. Urban areas are blobs of people (continuous areas of somewhat dense population). Urban Areas are either Urbanized Areas or Urban Clusters, again distinguished by their size, with Urbanized Areas having more than 50,000 people. Urban Clusters have to have 2500 persons to exist, but need 10,000 to form the basis for a Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Urbanized Areas, but not Urban Clusters, are grandfathered from one census to the next. If an Urbanized Area and Urban Cluster grow together, the Urban Cluster is absorbed. But when Urbanized Areas grow together, their identity is kept separate, typically at or near county lines.

The NYC Urbanized Area does quite reach the Delaware River. But it comprises 25% of Sussex, 40% of Hunterdon, 19% of Warren, and 8% of Mercer. Since it is the largest urban area in Sussex and Hunterdon counties, those two counties are Central Counties of the NYC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

More of Warren (29%) is in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Urbanized Area, so it is a Central County of the Allentown Urbanized Area. Easton is traditionally associated with Allentown so there is a division in the county. The NYC Urbanized Area could conceivably grow such that it was the dominant Urban Area, and Warren would flip between MSA's.

Because of Trenton, most of Mercer is in the Trenton Urbanized Area, and blocks the NYC Metropolitan Area.

Pike County, PA is potentially the Port Jervis Micropolitan Statistical Area, since the Port Jervis Urban Cluster has 10,000 persons, including 5000 in Pike County.

To the north, the Bridgeport-Stamford Urbanized Area keeps the NYC UA out of Fairfield County, and the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh Urbanized Area keeps the NYC UA out of Dutchess and pretty much out of Orange. But the NYC Urbanized Area does extend into Putnam County, so that Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland are central counties to the north.

The Poughkeepsie-Newburgh UA does extend a bit into Ulster to reach New Paltz, but the dominant Urbanized Area in Ulster is Kingston UA.

So in New York, you have the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh proto-MSA with Dutchess and Orange serving as central counties.

Outlying counties are determined on the basis of commuter flows. If 25% of workers who live in a county work in the central counties of CBSA, the county is an outlying county. But a central county of one CBSA may not be an outlying county of another CBSA.

But once the initial CBSA are delineated, then one CBSA may be treated as outlying to another. This appears what pulls Orange+Dutchess as a unit into the NYC Metro area. Commuting into NYC, Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam, plus most of Northern New Jersey counts as commuting into the central counties.

The number one destination for Dutchess is Westchester (15.2K), Putnam is next at 5.5K, followed by New York (Manhattan) 5.3, Orange 5.1, and Ulster 4.3. For Orange it is New York 9.9K, Rockland 9.2, Bergen, NJ 7.1K, Westchester 6.9K, Dutchess 5.1K, and Bronx 4.4K. It appears that Orange is dragging Dutchess into the NYC MSA (but I can only account for 24.5% of Orange+Dutchess workers working in the NYC MSA).

After the CBSA's are delineated, they may be agglomerated into a CSA, with each CBSA being treated as a unit. While for a CBSA, commuting must be into a Central County, for a CSA it just has to be between CBSA. In addition the link can be weaker. That is what brings the Ulster (Kingston MSA) into the CSA. Ulster has 9K commuting into both Ulster and Orange counties, compared to about 5K for the entire rest of the NYC MSA.

Were Ulster not itself a Central County it would have been part of the proto-Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown (PNM) CBSA. I'm not sure why NYC and PNM are merged, rather than PNM and Kingston.

It may be possible for the merging of CBSA into CSA to be chained (e.g. Bridgeport-Stamford being pulled in, then brought New Haven, and Waterbury-Danbury in.

Carbon being part of the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton MSA is what bring it into the NYC CSA. Warren being part of the Allentown MSA and also including about 20% of its population in the NYC UA, likely pulls in Allentown. The commuting only has to anywhere into Northern New Jersey or southern New York, not into Manhattan or even Newark. It could even be into Sussex County.

A CSA might be considered to be more like a group of related CBSA, which is hard to see when comparing NYC and any CBSA, let alone Kingston. But the relationship is somewhat easier to understand with NYC and the Connecticut MSAs, or Allentown and Trenton and NYC.

Even easier to comprehend is Washington and Baltimore being in a CSA.
53  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Population Growth in CSAs and Metropolitan Areas, 1900-2016 on: July 24, 2017, 03:37:15 pm
Question for people who know more about SoCal/Orange County: How has Irvine grown so consistently faster than all its surroundings (including both more and less developed neighbors) for such an extended period of time?
Irvine is fairly new. The Irvine Ranch was huge (roughly 110,000 acres) and went from the mountains to the coast. Development was more planned, and could take into account changing(-ed) demographics. In the 1950s no one would conceive that any 30 YO would not be married without at least 3 children, so houses were quickly built that families could afford (these people who grew up during the Depression, and if they were from a rural area, might not have had running water, indoor plumbing, or electricity beyond lights). Couples who are childless, or have one child, or are single, might not be attracted to a 3- or 4-bedroom house near to schools. They might prefer a townhouse, condo, or apartment.

An area that was quickly filled up with houses filled with two parents and four children, might decline in population 20 to 30 years later as the children became adults and left home. The parents in their 40s and 50s were not ready to move to a retirement home, so there were not opportunities for new families.

Being developed later, Irvine provided a variety of housing, as well as commercial and business areas. They also were chosen for a new campus of the University of California (-Irvine), which now has about 30,000 students, many of which, probably most are counted as residents by the Census.

Irvine also recently annexed the former El Toro Marine Air Station. While some of the area is devoted to Orange County's Great Park, most of it can be developed. This may reason for the recent sustained increase.
54  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: early look at gerrymanders in 2020 on: July 23, 2017, 12:03:08 pm
Here's a version of OR I drew from neutral principles. It's an anti-gerrymander, but I'm curious to get an opinion from NOVA Green.

I projected the counties to 2020 from the 2016 estimates. As drawn here are the percent population deviations for the Beaverton and Salem CDs are less than 0.5% and wouldn't need any adjustment. The other CDs are all within 2.3% of the quota, and need minimal shifts to bring them to practicably equal. For example shifting all of the Warm Springs IR into the Gresham-Pendleton CD and the area north of Sexton Mtn Pass into the Eugene CD would be enough to probably meet standards for population equality.
It meets reasonable standards already. They are as equal as practicable using counties.

It is bozo logic that representatives elected from such districts would not be "chosen (...) by the people of [Oregon]"

As soon as SCOTUS determines that "as equal as practicable" is the same as "substantially equal" then I'll entertain the notion that a 10% range on CDs is acceptable. Until then I will assume that SCOTUS intends that the phrases be different and that "as equal as practicable" requires a stricter numerical standard than 10%. I use 1% for CDs since a range close to that has recently been upheld.
They are not the same, and the SCOTUS has said there is NO de minimis threshold for "as equal as practicable".  You would have told me before Tennant that 1% was too much.

The phrase "as equal as practicable" is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, and as Justice Harlan pointed out in his Wesberry v. Sanders dissent, the majority opinion does not define the term. At the time of the decision, no state with districts was within a 10% deviation range.

The majority apparently plucked it out of an old federal reapportionment statute. At the time it was statute, states constructed their congressional districts from counties, except in the very largest counties.

Who is going to sue, who has standing? Jefferson County was not concerned about the population deviation. They didn't want to be in a district with Charleston.

You can remove most of the deviation from your map by shifting Grant and Wheeler to the Columbia River district.

Anyhow, here is a new idea. Shift Grant and Wheeler to the Columbia River district, and then make certain counties optional representation areas, where voters may choose their congressional district.

8.6% of Josephine voters would choose to be placed in the district to the north. If too many or too few volunteered, they would be chosen by lot. Similarly, 0.5% of Linn voters could choose, as could 7.3% of Tillamook voters, and 15.6% of Multnomah voters.

What happens if you keep Washington and Multnomah together for just beyond two districts, and then put Clackamas with Deschutes (Bend)?
55  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 22, 2017, 11:25:34 pm
One claim in the state litigation was that the legislative plans violated the Whole County Provisions of the North Carolina Constitution. This was rejected by the North Carolina district court (see page 49 of decision).

Dickson v Rucho opinion by North Carolina district court (PDF)

The court ruled that the legislature had better followed the dictates of Stephenson I and Stephenson II in drawing the maximum number of 2-county groups before then drawing the maximum number of three-county groups, etc. They make note of the deposition of Peterson where it was his opinion that the North Carolina Supreme Court was wrong. The district court said it was bound by the precedent of the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The North Carolina Stephenson guidelines produce a paradox.

Imagine that that the most groups possible was 41, and under Plan A, it was possible to have 12 one-county groups, and 28 two-county groups, encompassing 68 counties. The remaining group would have 32 counties, 9 of which would be cut, which means that this mega group had at least 10 representatives. If the intent was to complete chop up one area with the state with almost total disregard for county boundaries, this would be the way to do it.

Stephenson also ignores that any whole county group electing a single representative is completely consistent with the North Carolina Constitution. If it is possible to arrange a nine-county area into two groups of three and six counties, or four and five counties, the constitution is agnostic as which is better. Here again Stephenson producing a paradox. By giving a preference for a group of three, it also gives a preference for a group of six.

The North Carolina Supreme court affirmed the lower court decision (see page 43, etc. of the PDF)

Dickson v Rucho-1 North Carolina Supreme Court (PDF)

The North Carolina Supreme Court is preparing to consider Dickson v Rucho yet again. After the Alabama decision, the SCOTUS remanded the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court, which confirmed its earlier decision. After the SCOTUS upheld the federal court decisions, they vacated the North Carolina Supreme Court decision. Since the SCOTUS has now said that the North Carolina Supreme Court was wrong, that court may revisit the Stephenson guidelines which says that you first draw VRA districts, and then draw the whole county groups around them. But that was seen as evidence of a predominance of race.
56  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: early look at gerrymanders in 2020 on: July 22, 2017, 04:49:53 pm
Something that hasn't been mentioned yet is that during the next reapportionment, a future congress could use Section 2 of the 14th Amendment to strip CDs (and EVs) from states like NC and TX that have been successfully sued for having voting laws that are too restrictive.  They could penalize these states in the next reapportionment by the differential between turnout there vs. turnout in other states (perhaps compared to the states that have automatic voter registration and/or universal vote-by-mail?).
Where are the representatives and senators for this future hypothetical Congress elected from?

57  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: early look at gerrymanders in 2020 on: July 22, 2017, 04:45:13 pm
Another possibility that hasn't been discussed yet: If VRA influence on redistricting is weakened further, could big partisan states like CA, NY, IL, TX et. al just make all of their congressional elections at large?

At large districts were banned in 1967 and nobody seems to be challenging that.

Wasn't the VRA the reason why they were banned? If the VRA is gutted further, doesn't this ban become a moot point?

It wasn't until later that the bizarre idea that voting is a collective right was developed.

Federal statute since the 1840s required election from single-member districts, but there were exceptions following the census reapportionment when the number of representatives changed.

If a state gained representatives, the additional representatives could be elected at large "until" (wink, wink) the state was redistricted. If a state lost representatives, it could elect all of them at large, until redistricting. It is actually more complicated since it is based on the number of districts. A state could gain a representative, and elect him at-large for a decade, and then lose a representative and continue to use the old districts.  See 2 USC 2a(c).

Following Wesberry v Sanders, congressional districts were challenged across the country (at that time NO state with districts were within a 10% range). Federal courts were proposing as a remedy that elections be held at large (i.e. you can't use these districts, but the people have a right to representation, and there is this statute that provides for at-large elections in certain cases, and a federal judge has no authority to dictate legislation).

In reaction, Congress passed 2 USC 2c, which provides for single-member district in all cases. The exception was to permit New Mexico and Hawaii to conduct at-large elections one last time in 1968. Hawaii did, New Mexico did not as it was divided into two districts.

As one might expect, Congress did not repeal 2 USC 2a(c), but it was always assumed that it had been superseded by 2 USC 2c. But following the 2000 Census when Mississippi lost its 5th Representative, it failed to redistrict. Some low-level court (I think like a J.P. Court) determined it had authority to draw districts, and there was dispute as to whether this was true. Eventually, the SCOTUS ruled that 2 USC 2a(c) was still valid under certain obscure circumstances (I think there is a supposition that Congress knows what they are doing).
58  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: early look at gerrymanders in 2020 on: July 22, 2017, 02:48:29 pm
Here's a version of OR I drew from neutral principles. It's an anti-gerrymander, but I'm curious to get an opinion from NOVA Green.

I projected the counties to 2020 from the 2016 estimates. As drawn here are the percent population deviations for the Beaverton and Salem CDs are less than 0.5% and wouldn't need any adjustment. The other CDs are all within 2.3% of the quota, and need minimal shifts to bring them to practicably equal. For example shifting all of the Warm Springs IR into the Gresham-Pendleton CD and the area north of Sexton Mtn Pass into the Eugene CD would be enough to probably meet standards for population equality.
It meets reasonable standards already. They are as equal as practicable using counties.

It is bozo logic that representatives elected from such districts would not be "chosen (...) by the people of [Oregon]"
59  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Population Growth in CSAs and Metropolitan Areas, 1900-2016 on: July 22, 2017, 02:39:27 pm
Maps of the Los Angeles CSA are a bit more boring than New York, because there are only 5 counties in the CSA.

The decadal county growth maps show the same consistent growth pattern at the county level:

Incredible fact: Los Angeles County had a greater numeric increase from 1900 to 1910, than it did from 2000 to 2010, even though the base population in 1900 was 170K, and the base population in 2000 was 9.5M.
60  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Population Growth in CSAs and Metropolitan Areas, 1900-2016 on: July 22, 2017, 02:07:24 pm
The New York-Newark CSA has grown every decade since 1900 except the 1970s:

Yearly county population estimates are available from 1980 onward.  I've mapped the yearly population change below.  I think there is a lot of noise in the 1999-2000 estimate change because the 2000 estimates were revamped after the census:
The base for the 1990-2000 estimates was the 1990 Census. Census estimates are based on a demographic model, where the census population is updated by aging, births, deaths, and migration in and out. Birth and death information is fairly accurate - though there may be challenges to associate it with a particular geography. But migration is more difficult. The Census uses aggregate data from Social Security and the IRS to get information on the number of persons who have moved into or out of an area. One reason why state estimates are typically more accurate is that they use the number of housing units, which they have good information on because they levy property taxes.

One reason that the Census estimates are retrospectively updated is that some of their data is delayed. They probably are just now getting IRS data based on filings for 2016.

When one census is happening, they continue the July 1 series based on the previous census. The data from the April 1, 2000 Census was still being processed when the estimates for July 1, 2000 was being released. Additional estimates based on the 1990 Census may have been made (or maybe not since the 2000 Census data would have been available (eg April 2000 Census is likely to be a better "estimate" for July 2001 than a continuation of the series based on the 1990 Census).

Eventually, a new estimate series based on the 2000 Census would be developed, including estimates for July 2000, July 2001, ... included, but no attempt was made to blend the two estimate series.

The 1990 Census is believed to have a fairly large undercount, particularly in large urban areas, particularly with large minority populations (NYC qualifies). There was resistance to using adjusted "counts" based on estimates of the census "undercount", but one outcome was to attempt to get more people to respond to the 2000 Census. So estimates based on the 2000 Census may implicitly provide a correction to the 1990s Census.

You can see the same phenomena in 2010. Look at the Google population data for Douglas County, Colorado (as well as other counties, particularly in the ski areas).

It shows an average 12K per year increase from 2000-2009, followed by a 2K decline in 2010, and then a renewal of growth from 2010-2015 at about 7.2K per year. There was a definite slowdown following the Recession/Housing Bubble, but the 106K increased from 2000-2010 was not from a 12K increase for 9 years, followed by a 2K drop, but rather by a definite slowing that started earlier.
61  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 21, 2017, 05:14:23 pm
Back to the Peterson cover with the most groups (Cover 1211)

Green Groups unchanged from current, and with no overturned districts. 16 groups, 31 districts.

Blue Groups changed from current, with no overturned districts. 7 groups, 22 districts. Note the Halifax-Martin group splits up two groups which had unchallenged majority minority districts.

Yellow Groups unchanged from current which contain no overturned districts. 4 groups, 33 districts.

White Groups changed from current which contain overturned districts.  18 groups, 34 districts.

Overall up to 89 groups (74.2%) may need to be redrawn.

Standard deviation assuming perfect splits of whole county groups 3.24%.

Forced county cuts (9 total):

(1) Columbus. One fragment with Pender, one with Robeson.

(2) Rowan. One fragment with Stanly, one with Davie, one whole district in Rowan.

(3) Montgomery. One fragment with Anson-Richmond, one with Randolph.

(4) Haywood. One fragment with Jackson-Swain, one with Madison-Yancey.

(5) Granville. One fragment with Durham-Person, one with Vance.

(6) Sampson. One fragment with Bladen, one with Harnett-Johnston-Wayne.

(7) Harnett. One fragment with Lee, one with Johnston-Sampson-Wayne, oine whole district in Harnett.

(8) Wilkes. One fragment with Alexander, one with Alleghany-Surry.

(9) Surry. One fragment with Stokes-Rockingham. one with Alleghany-Wilkes.

Seven of the extra cuts are in smaller counties (entitled to less than one representative). Splitting such counties is arguably worse since it will be difficult to be elected from the fragments since many fellow county residents will not be able to vote for a candidate, and the fragments will have less influence over the election of "their" representative.

In addition, Wayne will not have one whole district and a fragment, but will have two fragments.

Number of groups per number of counties (ie there are 15 2-county groups)
1: 12
2: 15
3: 6
4: 4
5: 1
6: 2
7: 1

Number of groups per number of districts (ie there are 11 2-district groups)
1: 13
2: 11
3: 6
4: 4
5: 3
6: 1
7: 1
11: 1
12: 1

30 counties are in 10 single-member, multi-county groups. All such groups/districts are consistent with the North Carolina constitution. There are an additional 3 single-member, single-county groups.

For comparison my revised plan:

Green Groups unchanged from current, and with no overturned districts. 20 groups, 42 districts.

Blue Groups changed from current, with no overturned districts. 4 groups, 10 districts.

Yellow Groups unchanged from current which contain no overturned districts. 7 groups, 42 districts.

White Groups changed from current which contain overturned districts.  10 groups, 26 districts.

Overall up to 78 groups (65.0%) may need to be redrawn.

Standard deviation assuming perfect splits of whole county groups 2.62%.

Forced county cuts (9 total):

(1) Haywood. One fragment with Jackson-Swain, one with Madison-Yancey.

(2,3) Wilkes. One fragment with Alexander-Yadkin, one with Alleghany, one with Surry.

(4) Stanly. One fragment with Anson-Union, one with Montgomery.

(5) Lee. One fragment with Chatham, one with Randolph.

(6) Moore. One fragment with Randolph, one with Richmond, one with Lee.

(7) Bladen. One fragment with Robeson, one with Sampson.

(8) Pender. One fragment with New Hanover, one with Duplin-Jones.

(9) Granville. One fragment with Person, one with Vance-Warren.

Eight of the extra cuts are in smaller counties (entitled to less than one representative). Splitting such counties is arguably worse since it will be difficult to be elected from the fragments since many fellow county residents will not be able to vote for a candidate, and the fragments will have less influence over the election of "their" representative. Five of the fragments are relatively small (Wilkes(2), Stanly, Pender, and Granville).

In addition, More will not have one whole district and a fragment, but will have three fragments.

Number of groups per number of counties (ie there are 13 2-county groups)
1: 12
2: 13
3: 6
4: 6
5: 4

Number of groups per number of districts (ie there are 11 2-district groups)
1: 13
2: 11
3: 4
4: 6
5: 4
6: 1
11: 1
12: 1

30 counties are in 10 single-member, multi-county groups. All such groups/districts are consistent with the North Carolina constitution. There are an additional 3 single-member, single-county groups.
62  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: early look at gerrymanders in 2020 on: July 21, 2017, 02:03:24 am
Eliminate the Texas fajita strips, all of the Rio Grande delta can be held in 2 districts, add suburban GOP seats
Tx - Fajita strips are required by VRA, so illegal.
They are not compact and split communities of interest. The only explanation for them is to assign persons to electoral districts on the basis of race.

63  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: City of Hudson's weighed voting system under scrutiny on: July 20, 2017, 06:39:28 pm
One may recall that it was a study of Hudson governance by a group of Hosftra law students that piqued Torie's interest in weighted voting. The Hofstra students were part of a seminar taught by Professor Ashira Pelman Ostrow. Now Ostrow has penned an article in the Florida Law Review.

64  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 19, 2017, 10:16:51 pm
I see your new plan no longer keeps all 53 districts in groups without any overturned districts the same.  I can see why you rearranged the southern coastal area and the area just east of Charlotte, though, as getting rid of the shortages there was doubtless helpful in getting rid of that extra district.  I know earlier you had critiqued others for not keeping the "unchallenged area" as it was.
What had set me off on this quest was the claim made the legislature was going to have redraw (IIRC) 81 house districts, even though only 19 were found unconstitutional.With 53 retained groups, I thought that  would be reduced to 67 that would be redrawn, and some not materially redrawn, if at all.

The areas that I lost in my revised plan were on the periphery. Is still keep the block of districts in the western part of the state. But I am now down to 42 retained districts, requiring 78 (65%) to potentially be redrawn.

Incidentally, the North Carolina House and Senate redistricting committees will hold a joint meeting next Wednesday, July 26.
65  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 18, 2017, 11:37:58 pm
This shows the error for maps in my original plan.

The percentages are not the relative error for the superdistrict, but the deviation from the ideal total for the superdistrict.

For example for the orange district (Union-Anson) east of Charlotte, has a population equivalent to 2.871 quotas, which is 0.129 quotas below the ideal of 3.000 quotas (0.129 quotas equals 12.9% of a quota).

If you were to total all of the deviations on the map (one per superdistrict, not one per county - it is easier to label every county, rather than one county per superdistrict) they will add to -100.0% or enough to create one extra seat.

Notice there is not too much error in the single-member superdistricts. There is also a cluster of four underpopulated superdistricts south of Greensboro and Raleigh, eastward from Charlotte, and another two along the coast near Wilmington.

Collectively, there is a group of 10 superdistricts with a population equivalent to 27.302 quotas that has 28 districts for a relative error of -2.5%. If we can rearrange these superdistricts so that 27 districts are apportioned, then they will have an average error of 1.1% and the correct total of 120 districts. An important aspect of this is that it preserves the cluster of single-member districts in the northeast, which is one of the key aspects of my map.

This is my revised map, showing the deviation.

It has 120 districts, but unfortunately only 41 superdistricts, as 10 superdistricts in the southeastern part of the state have been rearranged into 8 superdistricts. The other 33 are unchanged from my original map. It preserves six single-member multicounty districts in the east. It rearranges one from Richmond-Scotland to Hoke-Scotland, which is probably preferable from a racial standpoint, since Hoke has a larger minority population than Richmond. The three single-member multi-county districts along the Tennessee line are also kept.

Along with the three single-county single-member districts, these are the only districts that fully comply with the North Carolina Constitution and the the North Carolina Supreme Court's expressed concern about cutting smaller counties. A small county that can not constitute a house district is at somewhat of a disadvantage, and this is exacerbated by being minced with parts attached to other districts. When combined with other small counties, they likely share a common regional interest such as being rural, and there is less risk on one county dominating or being dominated.

The attachment of Jones to Duplin is optional. Jones could be attached to Craven as well, but this division provides better population balance, and it also moves a division of Pender further north, closer to the Duplin County line, keeping a larger share of Pender within a single district.

There is a North Carolina state highway connecting the two counties directly. Jones is somewhat separated from Onslow by a large pososin along the county line.

This is my revised plan in a more conventional form.

This is my analysis of my revised plan:

Green: County groups that are unchanged and that do not contain overturned districts. The districts do not need to be redrawn, and would not be contested if the court orders a special election. The groups contain 42 districts.

Generally, they are in areas with smaller black populations, though there are exceptions.

HD-71 and HD-72 in Forsyth (Winston-Salem) are both 45% BVAP. It was determined that it was impossible to reach 50% BVAP for both of them. One factor that the court used in determining racial predominance was use of a bright line 50%+1 test for its districts. Neither district was challenged by the plaintiffs (A VRA Section 2 challenge requires a district-by-district analysis, though it can be in the context of an overall analysis).

HD-23 (Edgecombe-Martin) and HD-27 (Halifax-Northampton) have 52% and 54% BVAP respectively. But because they are comprised of whole counties, they adhere to traditional neutral redistricting principles of respect for political subdivisions and the whole county provisions of the North Carolina Constitution. Neither district was challenged by the plaintiffs. While the court did not find them constitutional, no litigant suggested that they were unconstitutional.

Blue: New groups, but that don't contain any overturned districts. The districts will have to be redrawn, and in some cases, there may be racial concerns.

Union-Anson is currently a county group with three districts, two suburban districts that are on the Mecklenburg line, and another district that includes the remainder of Union plus all of Anson. Stanly and Montgomery a slightly too large (1.112 quotas) for a single district, but there is a district comprised of Stanly and most of Montgomery.

The four counties were combined in a single group to better balance population. Shifting a bit of the excess population from Stanly to Union-Anson will keep the basis outlines of the existing districts, with tweaking of boundaries to equalize populations. Three of the districts have BVAP of 12%, 12%, and 13%. The Union-Anson district has a BVAP of 24% due to Anson having a 48% BVAP. But combining Anson with Richmond with only reaches 36.3% and not quite enough for a district. Bartlett v Strickland does not require drawing a VRA district unless an area has BVAP%. The crux of the  current litigation appears that you identify the compact area simultaneously with determining whether there it is 50% BVAP, rather seeing if you can construct a connected area that is 50%+ BVAP that can somehow be characterized as being compact.

The Currituck-Dare-Hyde-Pamlico groups is only 11% BVAP. Dare (3%) and Currituck (6%) have particularly low BVAP population.

The Brunswick-Columbia group includes some of the area that contained a once 50% BVAP district that later was at the heart of Bartlett v Strickland The district had a focus in the city of Wilmington and then meandered across rural areas Pender, Brunswick, and Columbus which featured three separate point connections where districts crossed each other. Demographic change (white retirements toward the coast, and statewide growth requiring larger districts) and the elimination of point connections reduced the BVAP below 50%. Stephenson forced the district into New Hanover and Pender, and Strickland resulted in the non-division of Pender.

The current version of the district remains centered in Wilmington, but extends into Brunswick. The district is only 29% BVAP, and the Brunswick portion of the district is only 19% BVAP (overall, the county is 11%  BVAP). Columbus is 30% BVAP, and it should be possible to draw the district that includes Columbus and extends into Brunswick with a BVAP in the mid-to-high 20%'s. The Brunswick district should be quite similar to the existing HD-17, but will requirea small augmentation of its population.

The Cartaret-Onslow group replaces the Onslow-Pender groups. Two groups will remain in Onslow, with a portion along the eastern line being added to Cartaret. Onslow has a 16% BVAP. Replacing the 18% BVAP Pender with the 6% BVAP of Cartaret, reduces the BVAP of the group from 16.4% to 13.1%.

It should be able to maintain HD-15 pretty much as it is. HD-14 could be shifted to take up the area vacated by HD-16, and give up area to HD-13 coming in from Cartaret. There could also be some shifts. The incumbents for HD-14 and HD-15 are both near the edges of their districts. There is no risk of them being moved out of their districts, but it would be easy to move the boundaries away from their homes, and make the two districts more compact.
66  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 18, 2017, 09:43:02 pm
Sigh! My plan provides for 121 districts.

The multi-county groups had population for 72.970 districts (just short of 73) and I created groups entitled to 74 districts (an error of -1.4%)
Did you travel to Vermont recently?  (Do you remember what I'm alluding to here?)

Which of the following from your post where you talked about the number of groupings is incorrect?  The 43.93 districts for the "large" counties that aren't within range of an integer number of districts or the 29.04 districts for the "small" counties?  Because those two numbers add up to 73.97, not 72.97.

Was a good portion of the error from the districts and groupings you left as is (because the districts or groupings weren't overturned - not that a court would overturn or uphold a grouping per se but where the simplest solution seemed to be to keep the groupings)?
43.93 + 29.04 is 72.97. The groups should have had 73 districts. But because they were slightly small on average (0.986 quotas) I ended up with a total of 74 districts. My spreadsheet has sums for the total populations (120.00 quotas) and counties (100), but where I should have totaled the whole number of representatives (and checked for 120), I had simply rounded 120.00 to 120.

I thought I had been careful. I had checked the number of districts for the single-county districts before I even began. It is quite close to a whole number (47.03). Wake and Mecklenburg both have fairly large errors, but they cancel (11.573 + 11.339 = 22.912, and 12 + 11 = 23). So while Mecklenburg is entitled to an extra 1/4 of a representatives, they get a whole 1.

As I worked my way east, I thought I was checking the total number of whole representatives vs. the total number of quotas, but since instead I was simply rounding the number of quotas they always matched.

When I was reviewing Peterson's affidavit, I noticed that when he checked potential covers, generated by random placement of superdistricts, he rejected covers that totaled 119 and 121. I thought, "Hah! If you crafted a map by hand you wouldn't have such problems!"

When I started analyzing Peterson's cover with the most superdistricts, the one with 41, I found it had 9 excess cuts, just as predicted by theory. But then I noticed I had eight excess cuts, despite having 42 districts. It took me a long time to find my mistake.

Where I had most of the problem is with districts with more than one representative. When you can get an area between 0.95 and 1.05 representatives, you are grateful to find something that is in range. But when the target is 2.85 to 3.15 there are lot more possible combinations that work. So it was generally super districts with more representatives that were the problem. I'll show this on another map.

I have a corrected map, but it is down to 41 superdistricts. It might beat other covers on some secondary tests.
67  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: early look at gerrymanders in 2020 on: July 18, 2017, 10:35:26 am
Which district in West Virginia likely gets eliminated: Mooney's, Jenkins', or McKinley's?
By default, Mooney's (probably). It's sandwhiched between the other two CDs.

Especially if the WV leg decides to stick to the rationale that was successful in Tennant v Jefferson County. In that case they defended a whole county plan that minimized the number of people shifted between districts. If they apply that to 2020 and a reduction of one seat, they would divvy up the counties in WV-2 between the other 2 CDs and not shift anyone between CD 1 and 3.
I think you may have misspelled rationalization.

But there is really no choice but to start with dividing up WV-2. And geographically it makes more sense putting the eastern panhandle with WV-1, and Charleston with WV-2.

It appears to be a balanced split putting everything east of Lewis, plus Wirt and Calhoun in WV-1. You could then do some swapping, such as Jackson for Randolph. The current representatives are about as being in the extreme corners of the state as you can get (Wheeling, Huntington, and Charles Town (Jefferson County)). The congressional results look like Idaho got a 3rd seat.

I think the only radical change would be create a river seat that includes Huntington and Wheeling, and keep Charleston with the eastern panhandle.

Quite odd background for Alex Mooney (WV-2). He was Maryland GOP chair and also a Maryland senator until 2011.
68  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 18, 2017, 09:25:59 am
Sigh! My plan provides for 121 districts.

The multi-county groups had population for 72.970 districts (just short of 73) and I created groups entitled to 74 districts (an error of -1.4%)
69  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: North Carolina Legislative Redistricting on: July 17, 2017, 12:12:25 am
Associated with the North Carolina litigation is an analysis of the whole county groups.

Supplementary (plaintiffs) material for Dickson v Rucho(PDF)

Dickson v Rucho is the congressional and legislative redistricting case tried in North Carolina courts. The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld both plans. The same lawyers then recruited a different set of clients to challenge the plans in federal court.

The congressional redistricting federal case is Cooper v. Harris which the SCOTUS affirmed earlier this year. The North Carolina legislature had already drawn new congressional boundaries which were used in 2016. Those boundaries are still being litigated.

The legislative redistricting federal case is North Carolina v. Covington. The SCOTUS affirmed this decision after the congressional district case. While it was briefed, the SCOTUS did not hold oral arguments, suggesting that they believe the same principles were at play in both cases. However, the SCOTUS vacated the order that would have required a truncation of legislative terms, and holding special elections in 2017, implying that district court had only examined the issues in a cursory fashion. This is being litigated now.

The SCOTUS has also overturned Dickson v Rucho, and sent it back to the North Supreme Court so it matches the logic of the federal cases. I don't know how much has to be done, or whether it is effectively moot at this time. One problem is that the North Supreme Court has directed that VRA districts be drawn first, before drawing whole county groups, and the federal court was evidence of race predominating over other factors, such as in this case adherence to political subdivisions.

Personally, I think if you have to ignore things such as political subdivisions, the districts are inherently not compact.

Back to the PDF file. On Page 26 (PDF) is the affidavit of David Peterson, an expert witness for the plaintiffs who has written a computer program to find optimum whole county groupings. He suggests that rather than trying to find the largest number of small groups, one should concentrate on trying to avoid groups with large numbers of representatives.

Both are wrong. One should try to create the maximum number of groups since that will minimize the number of cuts needed to equalize district populations. Any other cuts are necessary in order to create single-member districts. Part of Peterson's role is to demonstrate how inefficient the cover used by the legislature is. But that is not hard to do since they ended up with a 20 county group stretching from Stanly to Dare to fit all the VRA snakes into the group.

What is being confused is that both groups with fewer representatives and fewer counties contribute to having more groups.

There are 120 representatives. If the average number of representatives per group is smaller, it means that there are more groups. My plan has 120/43 = 2.791 representatives/group. To beat it you need to create more 1 and 2 member groups.

There are 100 counties. If the average number of counties per group is smaller, it means there are more groups. My plan has 100/43 = 2.326 counties/group. To beat it you need to create more 2 county groups (since I already have the maximum possible one county groups).

On PDF Page 32 there is a chart showing the best plans found by Peterson's program. Three of them are superlative in one characteristic or another.

Plan 1211 has 41 groups. My plan has 43. Moreover, I have more 1-representative and 2-representative groups AND more 2-county and 3-county groups.

Plan 1571 has 15 one-representative groups, one more than mine. But it has three fewer groups, four fewer 2-representative groups. It also has four groups with six or more counties. My largest groups are five counties, none of Peterson's achieve that.

Plan 1579 has 17 two-county groups, one more than mine. But it has three fewer one-representative groups. It also has four groups with nine or more counties, including a monster with nine.

       |  Representatives  |      Counties
Plan GR |  1  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 |  1  2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
JIMR 43 | 14 12 6 5 2 2 0 0 | 12 16 7 5 3 0 0 0 0
1211 41 | 13 11 6 4 3 1 1 0 | 15 15 6 4 1 2 1 0 0
1571 40 | 15  8 5 3 5 1 0 1 | 15 15 5 4 2 1 1 0 0
1579 40 | 11 13 5 5 1 2 0 1 | 12 17 4 2 1 2 1 0 1

Beginning on PDF Page 52 there are details of each of Peterson's plans (or covers). Plan 1211 is on PDF Page 85 and 86.

If you skip down in the Super District ID column, you will come to Super District 1, consisting of the single county of Alamance with 2 representatives. Peterson's program built a library of possible super districts (or county groups) that have a population equivalent to whole number of representatives (+/- 5%).

Super Districts 1 to 12  are the 12 single-county groups in the state. These are practically mandatory. There could be conceivably such groups place in a way that other super districts can not be formed, in which case you would have to place such a county in a multi-county groups. It is conceivable that such a placement could improve overall performance of a plan, but I very much believe it would be accepted.

Super Districts 13 to 55 are the 43 two-county groups, in alphabetical order from 13 Alleghany-Wilkes to 55 Richmond-Scotland.

Peterson does not utilize 13 Alleghany-Wilkes; 31 Cleveland-Rutherford; and 33 Davie-Forsyth. 13 and 31 cannot be used since that would isolate Alexander and Gaston, respectively. I don't know why they don't use SD 33. I use it, and it is used in the current map.

Three-county groups begin with 56 Alexander-Watauga-Wilkes. Many are not used. I know that 114 is a three-county group (Johnston-Nash-Wayne) and 129 is a 4-county group of Anson-Montgomery-Randolph-Richmond.

Potential super districts that contain a smaller super district are apparently excluded. For example since Beaufort-Craven form a two-county super-district, then Beaufort-Craven-Pamlico and Beaufort-Craven-Pitt are excluded. I think this is a bug. While if an entire super district could be divided into smaller super districts (example Burke-Cleveland-Gaston-Rutherford into Burke-Rutherford and Cleveland-Gaston), it makes sense not to use the larger group, this should not be the case if only part of the larger group can be treated that way. This might be why my plan is better than Petersons.

Finally, go back to the super districts with negative numbers. These are apparently when the program got stuck, and could not reduce an area further. The numbers are assigned on ad hoc basis, with the same set of counties, being given a different number for different covers.

In the map, these usually large groups, are depicted in red or orange. The group along the Tennesssee line of Haywood-Jackson-Madison-Swain-Yancey is used in my plan and almost all other plans. The single-county groups are in green, and the groups that are also used my plan are in blue. The groups in yellow are groups that are in plan 1211, but not my plan.

The standard deviation for Plan 1211 is 3.24%, assuming perfect splits of all superdistricts vs. 2.82% for my plan.

It is trivial to find where the extra cuts are made, by adding the surplus for the larger counties or the whole population for the smaller counties and rounding to the nearest integer. If this is 0 or 1, there is no extra cut needed.

70  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Population Growth Patterns in Metro Areas, 2000-16 on: July 14, 2017, 02:41:58 pm
I'm working on a larger project with more historical maps.  For now, here's a gif of percentage population growth in the US from 1900-2016, using 2016 county lines throughout:

The 1920-1930 blue swath across Georgia was interesting. Reprise of Sherman's march to the sea?
71  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Ancestry Data from 2011-2015 ACS on: July 14, 2017, 01:21:54 pm
Added Ohio: Hungarian and Slovene

The Census Bureau has released data for ancestry based on the 2011-2015 ACS. This includes information not only about numbers but other data such as education etc.

Anyhow, I went through the population totals by state, and was surprised that not every ancestry has California or New York as the most numerous state.

By state, in order of fewest groups:

Louisiana (1): Cajun. Louisiana Cajuns are not that much more numerous than Texas Cajuns. But Louisianans are much more likely to describe themselves as French Canadian than Cajun, and at a much higher rate than Texans. 51% of Cajun ancestry are in Louisiana and 22% in Texas. Cajun includes responses of "Acadian" and "Cajun" and one other that is listed as Not Used.

Oklahoma (1): Dutch West Indian! 40% of Dutch West Indian ancestry is in Oklahoma and 30% in Texas, and 5% in Arkansas, the 3rd highest state. By county in Oklahoma, the top two are Oklahoma (OKC) and Tulsa (Tulsa), with the others generally tending toward the south and southeast. The Census includes ancestries coded as "Aruba Islander", "St Maarten Islander", "Dutch West Indies" and a Not Used as Dutch West Indian. I suspect that the Not Used is actually Black Dutch. So this is probably mixed up, just as Maryland has an excessive number of persons born in Washington, when they were actually born in the District of Columbia.

Tennessee (1): Kurdish 30% of Kurdish ancestry is in Tennessee, with 80% of that in Davidson (Nashville). If you Google for "Kurdish Restaurants ..." the completion of "in Nashville TN" is suggested.

Washington (1): Icelander 15% of Icelander ancestry is from Washington, with the highest number is the large counties on the east side of Puget Sound: Pierce, King, Snohomish, and Whatcom. California is second, and Utah is third, presumably tied into Danes and the Mormons.

Ohio (2): Hungarian 13% of Hungarian ancestry is from Ohio, with the center in Cuyahoga (Cleveland) spreading out along the lakefront: Lorain is 3rd and Lake is 5th. Other concentrations are in Summit (Akron), Lucas (Toledo), and Franklin (Columbus). The Census Bureau includes codes for both "Hungarian" and "Magyar". Slovene 31% of Slovene ancestry is from Ohio, Pennsylvanian is next at 10%. Extremely concentrated in the Cleveland area, with a definite eastward drift. Lake is not far below Cuyahoga, and Geauga is 4th in Ohio. The Census Bureau includes codes for both "Slovene" and "Sorbian/Wend". This confuses me, since I thought Wends were Germanicized Slavs. The Census Bureau has a code for a birthplace of Slovenia, and language of Slovene.
72  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Was anti-Catholic voting against William Miller a factor in Appalachia in 1964? on: July 13, 2017, 08:32:17 pm
If there were a religious-based reaction, it would be based on a perception that Goldwater was Jewish. After all, Goldwater is as much Jewish as Obama is Kenyan.

Miller was not a particularly well-known Congressman, though he had been RNC chair. And if there were an anti-Catholic prejudice it would have been demonstrated in 1960 as well.

People in the Inland South have a great affinity to Texas, much more so than the Deep South, so LBJ would be considered a compatriot. There had not been a southern President for a century, unless you count Truman or an academic who was president of Princeton, and governor of New Jersey to be a southerner.
73  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Federal court finds Texas State House districts racially gerrymandered on: July 13, 2017, 12:14:46 pm
Cool! You split 8 counties and included parts of El Paso, Odessa, Midland, San Angelo, and San Antonio. Especially nice is the division of Hudspeth and Culberson counties with a few thousand each. Did you consider running the district through New Mexico? You can exclude those areas from the population counts and from voting, but can maintain contiguity.

By the way, the court rejected that El Paso-Midland monstrosity as being non-compact when it was used as part of an attempt to demonstrate that you can draw eight compact spaghetti strap districts in South Texas.

Anyhow, what the current trial is about is the districts that the legislature passed in 2013, which were generally what the district court had mandated. Minority legislators had presented various plans, that the legislature "rejected" as they put the court-mandated map into statute.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, this ain't my map. This is a map that was posted above as a way for districts to be drawn. I was just putting it in partisan purpose. I don't like either of the maps presented either. Note the links provided by Britian33.

Also, while this court case is about the 2013 map, it is simply a case of applying the 2011 districts to the 2013 map. The 35th and 27th are apparently exactly the same, so its simply a matter of pushing the previous decision forward. The problems the court found in the 2011 23rd I thought stemmed from it going into Bexar when two compact HVAP seats could be made entirely within the county - a decision that still exists on the 2013 map. If any of this is wrong, please correct me - the information around this case is scattered and every discussion seems to be filled with hot takes rather then info.
Sorry. I thought you were extrapolating from C283, rather than just transcribing into DRA. You also seemed to show favor for the El Paso fajita which can not be explained by any reason other than race, particularly given how Ector is split.

The 2011 map was never used.

The interim plan drawn by the federal district court in 2012 supposedly corrected any deficiencies in TX-23. The issue has never been with whether TX-23 comes into Bexar, but which parts of Bexar. TX-23 elected Peter Gallego(D) in 2012, and over the three elections since then the majority of the votes have been for the Democrat candidate Gallego, it is just that the 9,000 vote margin in 2012, only counts for one term, despite being more than the total of the 2,000 and 3,000 vote margins in 2014 and 2016.

In 2013, the legislature accepted the election of Gallego (who had served in the House), and simply placed the interim plan into statute. What the plaintiffs are trying to prove is that the legislature shouldn't just have just rubberstamped the court-imposed maps and explored whether additional districts could be drawn.

But since TX-23 was an opportunity district in 2012, there would be no reason to modify it. Instead, the Republicans recruited a better candidate and were able to win in 2014, and again in 2016, despite Clinton carrying the district by 3.5%. Perhaps the Democrats should run Ciro Rodriguez again.

You have to realize that c283 also modified TX-11 to the north. The plan is intended to pack more Hispanics into TX-23, by cracking a concentration of Hispanics in El Paso. TX-16 which is now a compact district has to pick up replacement population and stretches across five counties of desert to Odessa, where it hooks around to grab the whiter part of the city, bypassing the majority Hispanic part of the city, where voters might actually prefer Beto O'Rourke. TX-23 besides going deeper into El Paso, also goes into Odessa, Midland, and San Angelo cracking the three major cities of the district.

TX-11 has to make up the population losses so is pushed eastward to the brink of Fort Worth and Austin. Ector, Midland, and Tom Green currently comprise 55% of TX-11. Under c283 that would be reduced to 24% and suburban Johnson County will become the most populous county. The district would even include Venus.

TX-17 also moves northwestward. This shoves TX-25 down into Travis where it would likely be represented by Lloyd Doggett. His current TX-35 would now be in Bexar (45% of it already is).

TX-28 would be pushed out of Bexar, and take in parts of northern TX-15 and TX-34. TX-15 is squeezed down to less than half of Hidalgo (it currently has 69% of a county that is slightly larger than a congressional district). TX-34 grabs parts of Hidalgo, pushing its HVAP to 86%.

This permits TX-15 to take Jim Wells and most of Nueces. But because all of Nueces would bring in to many Anglo voters and risk flipping it like happened in 2010, only 80% of the county is used. This also makes sure that Hidalgo controls the district.

TX-27 enters Nueces via the ferry and Mustang and Padre Islands.

You will have to let some race sorter explain the spike across Corpus Christi Bay and up the ship channel.

Texas congressional districts history

Before the 1980s, TX-15 was the lower Rio Grande, and TX-23 was north of it. You will notice the districts were drawn in the more logical east-west direction. TX-23 was represented by Chick Kazen, who was from Laredo, though of Lebanese ancestry.

TX-27 was added in the 1980s redistricting. It was somewhat logical to put it along the coast, but the real problem was that the area had not grown enough for another district.  So TX-23 was forced northward to include more of Bexar County. This resulted in Kazen being defeated by San Antonioan Albert Bustamante.

In the 1990s, TX-28 was added. Bustamante was building a big new house further north in San Antonio and asked that it be placed in "his" district. TX-23 was extended to the west to make up for the fact there was not actually enough growth to create TX-28. He was implicated in the House banking scandal and black-and-white pictures of his new mansion along with images of kited checks, plus his new neighbors being more Republican, led to his defeat by Republican Henry Bonilla, who had been a news anchor in San Antonio.

The 2002 map was imposed by the federal court, after the legislature failed to pass a map, and then speaker, Pete Laney killed a quite reasonable map that had been drawn by a state court. The state court had announced the plan, and the judge said he wanted to make a few minor tweaks. Laney got to him and the judge made major changes to the map. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state district court had violated due process, and the federal court then went ahead and made a least change map.

In 2002, Henry Cuellar from Laredo almost defeated Bonilla. The election is cited as a demonstration that Hispanics in TX-23 were becoming disenchanted with Bonilla. What actually happened was not that Hispanics were becoming Democratic-minded but that they were Laredo-minded. Cuellar carried Webb County 32,471:5933 (85%:15%), while Bonilla carried Bexar County 41,520:13,246 (75%:24%). It was an almost reversal of the regional power struggle that had defeated Kazen 18 years earlier.

The legislature in 2003 rectified their failure to redistrict in 2002 by drawing a new congressional map. They added another district in south Texas (TX-25). This was not actually a new district but an existing district in Travis County that was extended southward. The traditional practice of extending the districts northward to gain additional population now included Austin. Webb County was divided between TX-23 and TX-28.

In 2004, Cuellar defeated the incumbent Ciro Rodriguez in the Democratic primary in TX-28. Cuellar carried Webb County 12,894:2431 (84%:16%) while Rodriguez carried Bexar County 10,824:2734 (80%:20%).

A federal court overturned TX-25, saying that it was not compact, and being brown alone did not make a community of interest. Since TX-25 was no longer counted as a Hispanic opportunity district, TX023 had to be modified. All of Webb County was placed in TX-28 and Henry Cuellar continues to represent the district.

In a 2006 special election, Ciro Rodriguez defeated Henry Bonilla. Bonilla received 48.6% of the vote in the special election held coincident with the November 2006 gubernatorial election. A special election requires a runoff, and Rodriguez managed to win in the lower turnout runoff.

Rodriguez was re-elected in 2008, but was beaten by Republican Quico Canseco in 2010. In the four elections held between 2006 and 2010, Bexar County represented 64.8%, 64.7%, 66.8%, and 64.7% of the vote, so clearly it is absurd to suggest that the district was drawn into the county when it represented almost 2/3 of the vote.

Under the map drawn by the court in 2012, Bexar represented 47.0%, 48.0%, and 48.5% of the TX-23 vote. Some of this is due to more of El Paso being drawn into the district, because El Paso now has more than enough a single district. Note that the portion of El Paso that is currently in TX-23 is 98% Hispanic, so it isn't like the legislature or the court cherry-picked voters.

Pete Gallego defeated Ciro Rodriguez in the 2012 Democratic primary, and went on to defeat Canseco in the general election. Will Hurd defeated Gallego in both 2014 and 2016.
74  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: If NYC were its own state, what would be its territory? on: July 13, 2017, 02:04:13 am

Brooklyn would be the boroughs of Kings and Queens.
Staten Island and The Bronx would become cities, with The Bronx becoming the largest city in Westchester County.

The present New York state would eliminate all the royalist names, including "York", except "Orange".
75  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Cube root congressional districts on: July 12, 2017, 02:22:10 pm
Also, some replies.

The division between CO-3 and CO-4. Division of the San Luis Valley, particularly Conejos, in unforgivable. While there is a separation of interest between the Western Slope and the ski areas, you are still better making a north-south split.

Start by shifting Gilpin, Clear Creek, Summit, and Eagle from CO-4 to CO-3 picking up Breckinridge and Vail, in exchange for the remainder of the San Luis Valley, and start working across Archuleta, La Plata, and Montezuma. The goal is to get CO-4 to the Four Corners. If you need some more population in CO-4, shift Pitkin, and then Lake, if this helps you get a bit more north in CO-4. Delta and Montrose could go in either district, though my preference would be to keep them with Mesa (Grand Junction).

I would look at putting the Lower Arkansas Valley (Otero, Crowley, Bent, Prowers) into CO-4. They fit better with Pueblo than Colorado Springs. In  exchange look at moving Teller, Park, Clear Creek, Gilpin into either a Denver district or CO-5.

I doubt that there is a Hispanic VRA district in Denver. First, the majority has to be among voters. While there is a considerable non-Mexican Hispanic community, many will have moved further west, and they may not vote cohesively (i.e. for the Democrat). Replacements have either been gentrifiers, or immigrants, who may be increasingly dispersed where they can find housing in apartments. But the district is OK as a Hispanic influence district. The fact that you admitted to having a target percentage suggests that race was predominating over everything else, especially when you started going out into Aurora.

Using an airport to connect parts of a district is not acceptable. A city with 350,000 people (Aurora) should have its own district, so ignore the county line. Put Sheridan, Englewood, and Cherry Hills into CO-9. CO-8 has to stay in Denver, even it pushes CO-10 further out into Adams.

Up North, I'd start with Boulder-Longmont-Loveland-Fort Collins and the mountain areas in one district; and Weld, Broomfield, and southeastern Boulder County (Lafayette, Lousville, etc.) in the other. This gets the Denver suburbs into a single district. If you need some more population in the eastern district, shift Longmont. It is commutable, and Loveland is closely tied to Fort Collins. It would also avoid a split of Larimer.

I followed up on what you stated about Colorado so lets go through the basic stuff.

First off Denver. Thinking about it, there probably wasn't the population for a HVAP seat in 2010. Yes, I could reach 50% + 1, however, turnout and voter registration probably prevent it from functioning efficiently. If we destroy the district, the region becomes much more appealing.

First off, I really love the new 7th. Centered on Aurora, the seat is drawn as a true coalition seat to replace the destroyed HVAP seat - ~39% WVAP with BVAP and HVAP each playing their part. The seat neatly sides into Denver and neatly grabs the northern minority communities. This also allows the 8th to be entirely within Denver. Doth are Safe D.

The 9th - 11th now also neatly follow the county lines and are seated pretty perfectly within their counties. The 9th is all of non-Boulder Adams, some of Douglas, and a bit of Jefferson for equity. The seat sides closer to 50-50 and is probably Tossup now. The 10th instead of being a VAP seat is now all of Adams and a couple of cities that cross the county border. It slides in Democrat PVI and is probably Likely/Safe D. The 11th barely changes and I still rate as Likely D.

I was uncomfortably with sticking the Denver Exurbs in Boulder into Weld. It seemed like the district was reaching into the region in an attempt to crack. However, once I realized the Senate Districts in the region already follow the corridor through the reion, the district was fine to draw. The first now has a slight Dem PVI, and is probably Tossup with a tiny D lean instead of a R one. The 2nd is still Safe D.

I however do not know why you think your version of the 4th is better. Both versions of the district need to cross the Mountains -  the 4th needs to do it anyway. The thing is, such a district that you describe will have multiple communities on either side of the Rockies. Farmers and Eco-Liberals in the west along with the ski counties, and farmers, rural mountain Conservatives, and working class Boulder in the east. The crossing meanwhile is more egregious, going across the state as if the mountains were not even there.

The changes drawing it has on other districts though also turn me away. The 3rd, which previously had a single, or two communities of interest since it was a purely western district, now takes in the Rockies which I had previously avoided. The 5th grabs Park and Teller making it look incredibly weird spiraling across the state and ending in the weird borders around Jefferson and Colorado Springs.

Meanwhile my current district embraces the fact that it needs to cross the Rockies. It is a purely Rocky based district, with population that depend on that fact. The ski counties are a united community, in addition to the non-suburban south slope conservatives. Boulder needs to be in the district. If it is road connections, every county in the district can be reached by road.
My 4th would be a southern Colorado district. There are not a lot of population centers, so it has to be big. It avoids the inexcusable division of the San Luis Valley, particularly the line between Conejos and Costilla. It crosses the San Juans which are far to the west of the Rockies in the northern and central part of the state. Meanwhile the ski areas in the northern part of the state would be united in a much more compact area. Your map excludes Steamboat and Winter Park, and the worker areas for Aspen.

You can swap Montezuma, La Plata, Archuleta, and Conejos for Pitkin, Eagle, and Summit.

Then swap Jackson and Grand for Clear Creek and Gilpin. It is not easy to get from Boulder to Grand (Trail Ridge Road opened for the summer on Memorial Day). While Jackson is east of the Continental Divide, this is only a technicality. To go down to the Atlantic, you go north in Wyoming.

Since the above is not a swap, you need to replace Clear Creek and Gilpin in CO-4. So move Gunnison to CO-3, and add Rio Grande, Mineral, Hinsdale, San Juan, San Miguel, Dolores, and Ouray to CO-4.

Some of the counties in Colorado are tricky because they include large areas that were never set off as counties because there weren't enough people. Northern Weld is an example of this. But most of the population is Greeley and the farming towns to the south, that are increasingly becoming commuter suburbs. So mentally you can just lop of the northern 2/3 of the county.
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