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51  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: White college graduates by state on: August 01, 2016, 12:47:54 am
It's the percentage of NHWs with a college degree.
What is the age bracket for the denominator?
52  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Most polarized states on: July 31, 2016, 06:26:14 am
I've seen a few posts on this section of the forum about splitting the Dakotas into East and West Dakota and splitting Washington and Oregon into eastern and western states....Following this thread, I would be very interested to see if there are any other states with such stark geographic polarization. What do you all think?
79% difference in support for Romney between King and Starr counties in Texas.

If limited to counties with over 100,000 votes, it was 51% between Montgomery and Hidalgo.
53  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Political and population statistics of West Virginia on: July 31, 2016, 06:21:23 am
There is no Al but Al. Please change your display name.

Anyway, have you been to the Atlas this forum is based on? It has a few election maps that might answer your questions. For example, here's the latest gubernatorial election:

I couldn't find any maps for Plaid West Virginia.

I had not realized that Romney carried every county in 2012.

This makes West Virginia unique, doesn't it? Manchin carried every county in 2008, which was the first time that a gubernatorial candidate had carried every county since 1952.

No wonder Hillary and Tim are going to put a lot of coal miners out of business.
54  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: VEP (Voting-Eligible Population) estimates for 2016 by state on: July 31, 2016, 05:55:21 am
Is there any way I can get those numbers? I need them for my TL Tongue
With American Fact Finder on Census Bureau web site

You can find the citizen population over age 18 based on the one year ACS for 2014.

55  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: Opinion of Electoral Vote Allocation by Congressional District on: July 29, 2016, 01:57:52 am
It is equivalent to how district-based parliamentary systems (such as Canada, UK, and Australia) choose their PM.
56  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Black immigrant population on: July 28, 2016, 12:35:47 am
Around 9% of the Black population in the US is foreign-born.  Here are the metros with at least 30,000 Black immigrants (ACS 2014 5-year estimates), by population and percentage of the Black population.
New York  972,820  28.5%
(NYC  677,708  32.8%)
Miami-Fort Lauderdale  419,531  34.1%
Washington  218,050  14.6%
Boston  125,145  35%
Orlando  72,571  20.1%
Minneapolis-St. Paul  70,953  27.8%
Seattle  42,895  21.6%
Hartford  30,099  22.8%
Seattle is a surprise (to me, anyhow).

It appears to be a combination of a large metro population (3.6 million), not very many blacks overall (5.6%, so about 1/2 the US average and probably even less of the big metro average), but a not insignificant African population, with Ethiopian and Somalian (other Eastern African) of particular note.

The black population in Seattle is towards the southeast, no?  What about Ethiopians and Somalians? In Minneapolis, blacks and Somalis are in distinctive areas. You might be more likely to encounter Hmong in the traditional black areas of northwest Minneapolis, while the Somali concentrations are southeast of downtown.
57  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 27, 2016, 11:52:17 pm
We seem to be arguing two separate things. I'm arguing that it is easy to set up the machines to do the right thing. You're arguing that it's easy to set them up to do the wrong thing. This is one of those cases where we're both right. 😈
Straight-ticket voting is never the right thing.

58  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 27, 2016, 02:35:42 pm
Again, pathetically easy.  I'll deal with the machines here in South Carolina since I'm familiar with them.  First off, your worry about unintentionally cancelling out a vote for Jill Stein doesn't make much sense.  There should be someway to cancel out a vote if that us what the voter wants, and if they don't want that, the disappearance of the green bordered box with a check mark in it ought to clue the voter about that.  Even if it doesn't, when one goes to cast the ballot, the machines here nag you if you have any races that don't have a vote in them and offers to take you to the first such race.

As for an idiot wasting time to go back and cast a straight ticket at the end, I'm not too terribly worried about his vote, but assuming the machine is configured properly, it'll only override races in which a vote has not been cast directly. (Assuming that's what the law in that state calls for.)
Did you vote for Alvin Greene in the primary?  If not, you may notice things that some voters do not. If you were in Palm Beach County in 2000 would you have been confused by the butterfly ballot? What about Duval County, or the other counties with confusing ballots? Many had worse performance than Palm Beach. What about the Scotland parliamentary elections in 2007?

Maybe the idiot who went back and voted straight ticket saw when he had completed the ballot on the review screen:

Straight Ticket: No Vote

You can select any race on the review screen and you will be sent back to the race in question.

Maybe the idiot thought that the computer was "nagging" him.

There is a way to cancel a vote on the voting machines.

On a paper ballot there is no way to unvote a race than to mark instructions on the ballot. Let's say that you are voting straight ticket Democrat, but the unoppose Democrat candidate for sheriff is your sister's ex-husband. You don't want to vote for him. All you can do is write on the ballot "No vote for this S.O.B." and hope your instructions are understood.

The voting machines have three controls. One is only used when you have finished voting. The other two are (1) the scroll wheel to position you on the ballot, (2) a select button.

The select works as both a select and de-select.

It is programmed to work like this:

If you have selected one candidate, and then select another, it switches your vote, rather than permitting you to overvote and then explicitly requiring you to reject the candidate after you overvote, or to deselect a candidate before selecting another.

But if you simply want to deselect a candidate you select them again. It works just like most computer GUIs would.

The Democrats sued over a close race in Dallas County, where they claimed that some votes for a legislative candidate had been "erased" by confusing voting machines. The federal court eventually ruled that the voting machines were fine and the election was fine, but that county should have precleared the machines under Section  5. The machines had been precleared two or three times, but supposedly not for that particular interaction explicitly.

One of the plaintiffs lawyers lived in Ellis County, and there was a dispute whether he actually did work on  the case (when fees were being awarded). Meanwhile, the lawyer moved to Dallas County, where he was elected county judge, likely due to straight ticket voting.

Dallas County has an election administrator. The default in Texas is for the county clerk to conduct elections and the county assessor/collector to conduct registration (vestigial role from when they collected the poll tax). Both offices are partisan. But a county may have an independent election administrator, and Dallas County had one. By all accounts he was quite competent and scrupulously neutral - going so far as to not register to vote.

He appealed the lower court preclearance decision to the Supreme Court. There is a 5-member body that can hire and fire the election administrator. It is comprised of the county judge, the county clerk, the county tax assessor collector, and the county chairs of parties that conduct primaries (eg Democrat and Republican).

The county judge called a meeting (this body had not met since the election administrator had been chosen more than a dozen years previously, and does not have an ongoing oversight role). One of the county chairs called the election administrator, and asked what the meeting was about. The administrator hadn't heard about it - the county judge would later claim it was to do a job review, but typically the person who is being reviewed participates in the process.

The election administrator tried to find out what was up, and somehow ended up in a discussion with John Wiley Price a county commissioner and not incidentally, black. The election administrator offered to resign after completing an upcoming local election (a month or to away). Price went away and came back, and said that the county judge thought he should go immediately. It is unclear (in a legal sense) why Price was involved at all.

A public hearing attended by 100s of election judges, ended up with Price shouting, "All of you are white. Go to hell" which resulted in the hearing being terminated. Eventually, the five-member body met and selected the chief deputy election administrator, who was black, to be the election administrator, but to be more responsive to Price.

Price is currently under federal indictment, but his trial keeps getting pushed back, because the defense needs to wade through the 9.2 terabytes of evidence that the government turned over.
59  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Lower court keeps from ballot Illinois redistricting reform proposal on: July 25, 2016, 06:20:48 pm
The story.The grounds as expected being that whether "and" really means "or" or not, as to the strictures on what a referendum proposal may address, I assume. So it is up to our resident expert on this to opine about the prospects for this being reversed on appeal, presumably even if overturned, too late to hit the ballot this election cycle. But that might be good. I would think it more likely to pass in the next election cycle anyway.
The Illinois Supreme Court has accepted the case, and apparently on a schedule to be on the ballot if they overturn the decision.
60  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why Don't Many Candidates Announce at Independence Hall? on: July 25, 2016, 10:14:56 am
I'm not sure more candidates need to announce there.  But as a former resident of Philly, I wish the founding documents were kept there rather than being buried in apocalyptical vaults in DC.
Shouldn't the Bill of Rights, including the 27th Amendment be kept in New York City?

And any new amendments should probably be kept in the new capital.

What about the still-pending amendments?

And any proposed amendments. If they were displayed in Philadelphia or Washington there might be simple tote board of ratifications. Surely it would be better to have a gigantic display on the side of the Constitution Casino in Las Vegas?

If a state legislature were considering ratification, it could be displayed on a map as sort of like a pulsating heart. And there could be a sort of bar chart reaching up to the 38th floor keeping track of the ratification, with LED lights screaming up to the current level. Giant holographic images of the founding fathers, imagine George Washington doing Viva Las Vegas.
61  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 25, 2016, 09:36:48 am

The straight-ticket option causes confusion, and increases roll off for non-partisan races and ballot propositions. It is hard to implement on voting machines. It is harmful to independent candidates and minor parties.

Whatever one may say about the problems with straight ticket voting, this isn't one of them. Even back in the day of mechanical voting machines, the necessary logic to implement it was fairly easy to design and build, tho it was a maintenance hassle, and that was mainly due to the mechanics needed to ensure that only one candidate was selected for each office. Mechanically, an OR gate is simple.  Now that everything is being tabulated electronically, be it by touchpad screen or Scantron sheet, it's pathetically easy to implement
Modern electronic voting machines are expected to give feedback while a voter votes.

In Texas, a voter may override the straight ticket vote on individual races. I have personally overridden the straight ticket on every race, but one, on a ballot.

The voting devices that are used in much of Texas, including Harris, Dallas, and Travis counties, there is a dial wheel used to scroll through the ballot, and a button that is used to select a candidate, a party, or a Yes or No on a ballot proposition.

Once a candidate is selected his name is highlighted.

So let's imagine you select a Green Party straight ticket. You scroll to Green and press the select button. You scroll down to the the presidential race, and decide that you don't want to vote for Jill Stein, or anyone. So you click on Jill Stein, and your vote for Stein is cancelled.

Now let's imagine you select a Green Party straight ticket. You scroll to Green and press the select button. You scroll down to the the presidential race, and decide that you really like Jill Stein, so you click on Stein (a "make sure" vote), and your vote for Stein  is cancelled.

You also don't have to vote the ballot in order. So imagine you have voted for 50 or so races, and decide that you want to vote straight ticket. You scroll back to the top and select a party. How is the rest of the ballot to be interpreted.
62  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 24, 2016, 11:46:03 pm
Regarding straight-ticket voting repeal - Why remove this? What is wrong with people who are going to vote Democratic downballot anyway from being able to check a box? Even more so, why is it so important to get rid of it? In fact, why are Republicans so obsessed with making voting more difficult? It doesn't matter how difficult each little change makes it - Why can't they do things to encourage turnout?
Most States have removed it. Jim Matheson and Charlie Dent introduced a bill in Congress that would require all states to remove it. If your beloved diktat from the top came from Washington, do you think they would require the 42 states without straight ticket voting to institute it, or eliminate it in the 8 states where it still continues?

The straight-ticket option causes confusion, and increases roll off for non-partisan races and ballot propositions. It is hard to implement on voting machines. It is harmful to independent candidates and minor parties.

It is coercive:

Imagine this scenario:

18 YO voter: I've been studying the ballot so I can make an informed decision for every office.

Older relative: You don't want to do that. Don't you know about the Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior and the Selma March? If you fritter your time away considering each race, it will make the lines longer. Think about your Aunt Louise, who has to use a walker and is on oxygen. Do you want to make her stand in line for hours. And think about that no good shiftless Walter Johnson. It is hard enough to get him to show up to vote. If you're in their holding up things, he might just turn around and go home. That would suit The Man fine.

It must be OK to blindly vote for every candidate of one party, because there wouldn't be that option if it wasn't OK. And they even put it first on the ballot.

Just remember, "Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Good".

Executive summary: The court fixed the boundaries before the 2012 election. The plaintiffs are dragging the case out.
I don't really care whose fault it is, jimrtex. It shouldn't take this long. If it does, then something has to change. It's really that simple to me. We shouldn't have people rigging maps to begin with, but if this is how it is going to be, then lawsuits need to be handled much faster.
What is "it" in "It shouldn't take this long"? You don't appear to have a clue, and moreover don't want to have a  clue.

Edit: As for the interim CD map - From some reading I get the impression that the current map is still gerrymandered and still being decided over the courts, right? If that is so, then again, it has taken too long.

The remedial map was imposed by the federal court. It has been used for three election cycles. The state has accepted the map. The plaintiffs associated with the Democratic Party want a do-over.
63  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 24, 2016, 04:06:00 pm
Texas district and circuit courts seem to have a habit of slowing down cases regarding voting rights and redistricting, given the sluggish nature of this lawsuit and the still pending redistricting lawsuit over Texas' maps that were already found to be rigged. It has taken the panel basically half a decade and thensome, and they don't expect new maps until 2018. There is pretty much no excuse for this and one should be forgiven for thinking that the judges are purposefully stringing the case out so conservatives can benefit for as long as possible under the current maps. I've yet to hear a satisfactory explanation for such delays yet. There are no viable excuses at this point. Fixing rigged maps does not take half a decade.
In 2011, the district court made their initial ruling. The day after Thanksgiving they released their maps, which just "happened" to draw a boundary one block outside Joaquin Castro's house. Charlie Gonzalez announced that he had decided to not run for re-election in a seat that he or his father had held for the last 52 years, saying he needed to make some money. Castro, who had been planning on running against Lloyd Doggett in a newly created Austin-San Antonio district announced he was switching to the suddenly open seat (implied wink wink ...)

The US Supreme Court tossed the map the map.

The district court then delayed the 2012 primaries why they considered new maps. One hearing was recessed so that the judges could call the DC Court of Appeals who were considering the Section 5 preclearance (Texas was having to simultaneously defend their maps in two different federal courts). The San Antonio judges called another recess to take the return phone call from the judges in Washington. Apparently they were given no hint on what the other court would rule or when they would rule.

The San Antonio court drew a remedial map, including their assumptions about what the Section 5 court would rule. That remedial map imposed by the federal court in 2012, has been used for the 2012 elections, the 2014 elections, and the 2016 elections. In 2013, the Texas legislature adopted the court-imposed plans. So the allegedly unfair plans were remedied by a federal court and used for 3 elections.

In late summer of the 2012 the DC court finally made their ruling, and the San Antonio court decided not to delay the 2012 elections. The DC court's decision was vacated after Shelby County.

So now the San Antonio court is stuck with considering whether they should have evaluated the Section 5 evidence which they didn't consider or would have considered differently, even though Section 5 is no longer in force, but was 5 years ago. They also have to consider whether Texas should be lassoed in to preclearance. They also have to consider the Corpus Christi case which the 5th Circuit has recently rejected in large part. Any decision they make will be appealed to the US Supreme Court, which they can't avoid. They may also have wanted to wait on the Supreme Court's decision in Evenwel.

Executive summary: The court fixed the boundaries before the 2012 election. The plaintiffs are dragging the case out.
64  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 24, 2016, 03:21:06 pm
Straight-ticket was never intended to make voting faster or easier. It was intended to coerce voters to vote a certain way.


If you decide to vote for individual candidates, and this takes longer, and this makes the line for your neighbors longer, should you be charged with an election law violation? Should this be a misdemeanor or felony? State or federal law or both?

I wasn't saying it was implemented to make voting faster, I said that it was repealed to cause longer lines. Regardless of how it was implemented, straight ticket voting obviously has an ability to make voting faster, particularly for people who already intend to vote one way downballot.

Regarding your questions, I do not believe lawmakers should be allowed to tinker with election regulations / services in any way meant to discourage turnout among any group(s) of people. It's one thing to repeal a regulation because it serves no purpose, or harms elections, but to repeal or institute regulations to reduce turnout among your political opponents is wrong. It doesn't matter how simple the measure(s) seem(s). Specifically, if you repeal a service or institute a restriction with the intent of reducing turnout among a specific race, purely because they vote against you, that's discrimination plain and simple.

Republicans have never made it so clear to me why the federal government should set general voting regulations for all states, including number of polling places, voter registration rules, ID requirements, amount of poll workers, and so on. Time and time again states have shown their inability to run fair elections either out of incompetence or out of sheer corruption / political/racial discrimination.
What do you mean by the "federal government"? Do you think that the President should appoint governors, and that the President and governors should appoint 20% of legislators.

What evidence is there of discriminatory intent in Michigan?

We can probably agree that it is the intent of the Democratic party bosses in Michigan that voters should vote a straight Democratic ticket. I am assuming that you don't believe that the party bosses are indifferent (i.e. a boss says that he could care less what voters do, and that he personally carefully considers the qualifications of the candidates, and it is just coincidence that he has voted for Democrat candidates 100% of the time for the past several decades. But he has been told by certain voters that they just don't have time to consider how they are voting, and insist on the convenience of straight ticket voting.)

Should someone be able to vote for all women candidates, or all white candidates if they want to? Of course. But why should deference be given to one prejudice over another? Why should it be easier and quicker to vote for all Democrats, than all women, or all whites?

What happens if I live in an area where there are voters who go down the ballot and select all women, or all whites. When they come to a name whose race or sex is ambiguous, they ponder, as they try to determine whether Eddie Johnson is a man, and whether he is white or not. He might be "Eddie Bernice" whose parents used an unconventional spelling of Bernard. President Obama who is black, had a white mother whose first name was Stanley, so you can never be sure. What if the longer lines cause me to not vote?
65  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 24, 2016, 02:26:14 pm
Is there a single example of the above occurring?
What are you specifically referring to?
66  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 24, 2016, 01:50:38 pm


Any plan submitted to Ramos by the state or its challengers, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, must include that basic framework she laid out in her scheduling order. Anyone who has an eligible ID under 2011 law, which requires state-issued photo identification to cast a vote, or has the ability to obtain it before the November 8 election must display it to vote. Additionally, easily counterfeited IDs, like a college identification card, cannot replace eligible photo identification as laid out by Senate Bill 14. However, there is an exception for the indigent. Any plan to fix the law must allow people who can't get one of the seven state-sanctioned IDS to use voter registration cards. In Wisconsin, which has a similar discriminatory voter ID law, a federal judge ruled that voters without photo ID can sign an affidavit, swearing they are who they say they are.

The state's also going to have to launch a "meaningful" public education campaign explaining Senate Bill 14's identification requirements, exceptions to those requirements in the original law and about the interim plan that the court will adopt. Additionally, the state has to educate and train poll workers so they fully understand the interim plan.

So basically:

1. Anyone without an ID will be able to use their voter registration card
2. State must engage in a meaningful education campaign so voters know the rules
3. Poll workers must be educated on new rules so they don't turn people away.

* New rules/adjustments may be submitted prior to November

Personally I think a voter registration card should have always been acceptable, as it proves you are registered to vote at the very least (not that they can't look your name up either way, but meh)

Finally, the judge is going to decide if this law was made with intent to discriminate, which would make it eligible to be put back on federal preclearance for 10 years. As the article stated, the same judge actually already decided that was racially discriminatory in 2014. I suppose he is going over it again in light of the new rulings.
A voter registration certificate doesn't prove that you are who the card says you are, and it may have been obtained under false pretenses. For example, imagine you are canvassing a neighborhood and find a small bungalow with 20 people registered at it. You mention it to the candidate you are supporting, and he tells you that is where his opponent lives.

Friends and relatives had registered at the address so that they could vote for the candidate. Most people would be unwilling to use an incorrect address on their driver's license to help out a politician. There will be more stringent eligibility tests for things like driver's licenses.

Texas permitted voters to vote with their driver's license for several years before they required it. Most voters preferred it because they carry their driver's license. There is a good chance that you misplaced your certificate, or perhaps it was lost in the mail. Driver's licenses can be scanned which simplifies lookup when you vote.

What will likely happen is the affidavit will show that there are very few would-be voters who don't actually have ID, and even fewer who couldn't obtain ID. The training requirement will ensure that poll workers actually come in for training before the election. Democrat election judges in particular belief they know about the election law because they have been doing it for decades.

The appeals court overturned Judge Ramos finding on intentional discrimination by a 13-2 vote. The two dissenters would have deferred to her as the trier of the evidence. The overwhelming majority said that she considered inappropriate evidence. They also overturned her opinion that the Voter ID requirement was a poll tax.
67  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Updates on Voting Rights bills and lawsuits in 2016 on: July 23, 2016, 09:40:45 am
The idea was to repeal straight-ticket voting to both cause lines (and thus discourage would-be voters) in areas with heavy amounts of Democratic voters, notably African American communities as they were identified to heavily use straight ticket voting. Another idea suggested when this bill was passed was that Republicans wanted this tweak to hopefully give them a leg up in the statewide offices they haven't been able to take yet. I'm not exactly sure how this would have worked, but when Republicans repeal things meant to make voting faster or easier, they generally have partisan politics in mind. This much we know based on the wave of restrictions passed since a black man had the audacity to win a presidential election.

At any rate, good for Michigan.
Straight-ticket was never intended to make voting faster or easier. It was intended to coerce voters to vote a certain way.

Before the Australian (government-printed) ballot was adopted in the late 19th Century, elections were write-in. Voters could write out the names of candidates in advance, and take it the polling place and put it in the ballot box. If they wanted secrecy, they would keep it in their vest pocket. Political parties would print ballots with their candidates printed on it. They might use red or blue print so that observers could see who they were voting for. Instead of lawyers trying to keep candidates or parties off the ballot, parties would use toughs to disrupt distribution of ballots. Voters might be given a free lunch in exchange for taking a ballot. If you had a bunch of ballots you could fold them inside each other and stuff them in the ballot box.

Since elections were still nominally write-in, voters could edit printed ballots, and write the name of an alternative candidate.

When the Australian Ballot was adopted, it was often done by literally piecing the partisan ballots together. You could tear off the section for your favored party, and if you wanted to split your ticket could cut out a particular candidate.

Instead of toughs keeping other parties from distributing their ballots, there were laws that made it hard to get on the ballot, as a party or an independent (it used to be impossible to run as an independent in Michigan).

In Texas, parties were arranged in columns, with offices in rows. Choices were made by crossing off names. if you wanted to vote a straight ticket, you would just draw a vertical line down the column.

Under a straight ticket system, you can still vote for individual candidates. When the Texas legislature was considering eliminating the straight ticket, a longtime Representative recalled being told to be sure to mark the Republican party candidate for every office, because the Democrats would switch votes by marking down-ballot races.

If you decide to vote for individual candidates, and this takes longer, and this makes the line for your neighbors longer, should you be charged with an election law violation? Should this be a misdemeanor or felony? State or federal law or both?
68  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Lower court keeps from ballot Illinois redistricting reform proposal on: July 22, 2016, 01:33:28 pm
The story.The grounds as expected being that whether "and" really means "or" or not, as to the strictures on what a referendum proposal may address, I assume. So it is up to our resident expert on this to opine about the prospects for this being reversed on appeal, presumably even if overturned, too late to hit the ballot this election cycle. But that might be good. I would think it more likely to pass in the next election cycle anyway.
The ruling actually said that the proposal made structural AND procedural changes to the legislature (see Count V of the opinion, which is linked to in the newspaper article)

However it did say it was not limited to those areas. You are correct that the words "limited to procedural and structural" matters probably should change the "and" to mean "or (inclusive)" but it has never been interpreted that way.

An example of an area that the judge ruled was outside the domain of the legislature was the involvement of the State Auditor in the selection of members of the pool from which the commission is chosen. Since the Auditor is an executive official, the judge ruled that this was changing the duties of someone not in the legislative branch.

In past litigation over proposed initiatives (only one of about a half dozen attempts ever made it through the legal gauntlet), the Supreme Court has ruled that you could remove powers of an executive official (e.g. removing the veto power of a governor), but the circuit court ruled that adding duties was different.

The Supreme Court could reverse a couple of counts, since it would have no effect on outcome.

The whole process is a sham. The 2014 initiative had a requirement that commissioners could not hold other offices after their service for a period of time. That was ruled to be outside the limits of an initiative. This year there was an alternate proposed in the legislature (by Democrats). They touted it by saying it would prevent commissioners from drawing lines and then running for office, unlike the 2016 initiative.

69  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: (Republic of) Ireland constituency review 2016-17 on: July 22, 2016, 12:38:30 pm
The part in red relates to your original question. Does the division of counties to achieve more equal districts lead to increased entropy?

You know, at first when I read your (jimrtex's) reply, going into it thinking it might be some suggestion as to what the boundary commission might or ought to do, given its fairly narrow terms of reference, and then I saw "weighted voting", I was like "here we go again" and dismissed it out of hand without even giving a good look at your suggestion.  Now I have, and it is intriguing.  So the poll-toppers who exceed a quota in the first count would have more of a vote than the person in the same constituency who just scrapes by to win the last seat?  I like that.

So a different number of TDs could be elected in any given constituency (and thus overall) depending on how the vote breaks down (with more TDs being elected in a more "fragmented" vote (in quotes as how preferences of eliminated candidates break down could also be a determining factor in how many candidates get a piece of the TD vote pie)).  Very interesting.  Thanks for discussing this hypothetical possibility (if the rules in the Republic of Ireland allowed for it), and I'm sorry I didn't give it the interest that it deserved earlier.  I'd still be interested in people's suggestions of possibilities within the Constituency Commissions terms of reference, however.
Traditional STV is a crude form of weighting. The number of seats in a constituency measures the population. But if a county is entitled to 3.4 TDs, either an area equivalent to 0.4 TDs is lopped off, or an area equivalent to 0.6 TDs is appended.

Once an area has been divided there may be continued tweaks to keep the constituency near an integer number of seats. Perhaps the area with the extra 0.6 population fit well with 3.4 area. But if there is decline in population to 3.2, will the added 0.2 fit as well. It would be interesting to track the history of split counties to see if they have increased over time.

Then when apportioning the seats within the constituency an attempt is made to partition the voters in groups that are 1/(N+1) of the electorate. Not only are the support groups equalized, the votes of part of the electorate are discarded. In a 3-seater with 40,000 votes, each elected TD represents exactly 10,000 voters. Instead of the other 10,000 voters being lopped off, their votes are discarded. Instead of shifting them to another area, they are treated as if they had moved.

In my example, I made sure that every constituency had the equivalent of at least 2.5 members, but that might not be necessary. In British Columbia there are areas in the north and interior that are huge, and districts are often left underpopulated. With variably-sized districts, you can recognize a community, and give it an equitable share of the vote. And if you don't require that all legislators represent the same number of votes you can still have some pluralism in remote areas.

The threshold of 0.18 times the quota is designed to permit the possibly of 5 TDs being returned from most constituencies. For constituencies with less than 3.00 TDs, the alternate limit of 0.60 will limit the maximum to 4 TDs.

I glossed over exhausted votes.
70  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: City of Hudson's weighed voting system under scrutiny on: July 21, 2016, 12:22:24 pm
Fair Apportionment and the Banzhaf Index(PDF)

This is an interesting article, given its author, Bernard Grofman, who some will recognize as the special master in the Virginia congressional redistricting case.

The Banzhaf Power Index as used in New York is based on the probability that a given representative in a legislative body will cast a decisive vote in a political body based on the following assumptions:

(1) All representatives are equally likely to vote Aye or No.
(2) All combinations (coalitions) of representatives are possible and equally likely.

A vote cast by a representative is decisive if

(1) The coalition has a majority weighted vote (or meets some other threshold such as a 2/3 supermajority);
(2) Switching the vote of the representative alone to No, causes the coalition to fail (to achieve a majority).

When a coalition fails to achieve a majority, no votes are decisive, since they have already lost, and any vote-switchers to No will only make it worse.
When a coalition achieves a substantial majority, no votes are decisive, since even with one defector, the coalition will have a majority.

When the vote is fairly close, the votes of some representatives will be decisive, while that of others will not. For example, imagine that a coalition achieves 53% of the vote. A representative with 4% of the vote will be decisive, since if he abandons the coalition it will have 49% of the vote. If a representative with 1% of the vote leaves the coalition it will make no difference.

The Banzhaf Power Index may overestimate the power of representatives with greater weight. Consider the previous example, and imagine two representatives with 2% of the vote each. Individually, their vote was not decisive. But collectively, the vote of at least one of them was _necessary_ to achieve a majority, assuming that no other representatives changed their vote.

Banzhaf later extended his index to voting in popular elections. Since all voters have one vote, a deciding vote can only occur when there is a one-vote victory. While exceedingly unlikely when there are a substantial number of voters, it is not impossible. While computation of the BPI requires enumeration in the general case; it can be determined analytically when all voters have the same weight.

It turns out that the likelihood of a one-vote victory is inversely proportional to the square root of the number of voters, rather than inversely proportional.

His theory was considered in Whitcomb v Chavis. This Supreme Court decision in 1971 considered whether elections to the Indiana legislature from multi-member districts violated One Man, One Vote. At the time Marion County (Indianapolis) had 15 representatives and 8 senators elected at large. The thrust of the complaint was that the black area of Indianapolis was denied representation. A second part of the complaint was based on the idea that permitting Marion County to elect 15 representatives at-large was discriminatory to voters in other districts with fewer representatives. In particular, Marion County was compared to Lake County (Gary, Hammond). The two counties had 15 and 11 representatives respectively, which happened to be quite proportional to population. The ratio of population was 1.36:1.00, but based on Banzhaf's theory the representation ratio should have been 1.17:1.00. Actually, the argument made was that it was impossible to reconcile Banzhaf's theory with anything other than equal population districts.

The district court (3-judge panel) ruled that not providing single-member representation to Marion County was unconstitutional and then proceeded to order statewide redistricting, but not based on Banzhaf logic, but on the basis of malapportionment. Indiana had successfully redistricted post-Reynolds in 1965, and had the result approved by a federal district court. But by 1969, the Supreme Court had indicated that the deviations of 28.2% for the senate, and 24.8% for the house were no longer tenable (in the district court decision, the court calculated the number of districts that had greater than 1% deviation, suggesting that they were demanding almost precise equality).

The Indiana legislature had already met in 1969, and did not have a 1970 session, so the court imposed its plan to be used for the 1970 election. The Supreme Court stayed their decision. Oral arguments were held in December 1970, after an election conducted using the 1965 post-Reynolds boundaries.

In the January 1971 session, the newly elected legislature passed a single-member district plan that violated the Indiana Constitution provision on the division of counties. This was noted by the Supreme Court when it finally issued its opinion in June.

The Supreme Court ruled that Marion County did not have to be divided into single member districts, but that because the district court had ruled what it did, it opened up the state to redistricting
It appears that the fact that there would have been a partial redistricting opened up the state to a total redistricting based on deviations outside of Marion County. But because of the Supreme Court stay those boundaries were never used, and the last conceivable election had been held before they heard the case. By the time they had decided the case, the legislature had redistricted on the basis of the 1970 Census.

There was a 5-member majority that ruled that Marion County did not have to be divided. Justice Potter Steward did not support the conclusion that statewide redistricting was nonetheless required. A 3-member dissent said that Marion County should be split, and that statewide redistricting was proper.
Justice Harlan filed a dissent.

Justice Harlan lampooned the Banzhaf theory, and pointed out how the probability of "decisive" votes would be degraded with minor changes to the base assumptions. He considered an election with 300,000 voters (Marion County had about 700,000 persons at the time). If voters used loaded coins that came up heads 50.5% of the time, there would be an astronomical decline in the probability of a one-vote election. Alternatively if 10,000 persons voted one way, and 5,000 the other, adamantly ignoring their coin flips, while the other 285,000 citizen-voters dutifully flipped their coins, there would be an even greater decline.

It was these claims by Harlan that Grofman investigated. Since Grofman wrote about a decade later, presumably Harlan had read the numbers in a brief and added them to his opinion.

The majority didn't appear to really understand the concept of the Banzhaf theory as applied to large numbers of voters. Their example posited an example of a county with nine (sic) voters and three representatives, vs. three districts with three (sic) voters each. They spent a lot of time discussing the situation in Marion County, and then jumped into the disparity in population among districts statewide, with no acceptance of the Banzhaf theory. They concluded that even though the district court erred in dividing Marion County, that once they did they could redistrict the entire state.

The other 3-member dissent said that Marion County should have been divided, and the state redistricted, did not mention Banzhaf at all.
71  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: (Republic of) Ireland constituency review 2016-17 on: July 21, 2016, 06:46:37 am
A useful timeline from Maynooth University Geography Lecturer Adrian Kavanagh

The Preliminary Results of Census 2016 ("Geographic Changes" section)

The press release announcing the Constituency Commission (with the commissions Terms of Reference)

Adrian Kavanagh's initial number-crunching (updated to talk more about which new breaches of county boundaries might be necessary and which existing ones can be eliminated, and to reflect that the options he had discussed with more than 160 seats are in violation of the Constituency Commission's Terms of Reference)
The Republic of Ireland should adopt Weighted STV voting, where each TD has a voting weight proportional to the share of the population and share of the vote they receive.

159 TDs would be apportioned among the counties. Smaller counties (less than 2.50) will be joined with neighboring counties. Larger counties will be divided into more than one constituency:

For example:

Dublin City     18.49(4)
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown     7.26(2)
Fingal   9.90(2)
South Dublin   9.32(2)
Kildare   7.42(2)
Kilkenny-Carlow   5.21
Laois   2.83   1
Louth   4.29   1
Meath   6.51(2)
Offaly   2.61
Westmeath-Longford   4.32
Wexford   5.00
Wicklow   4.76
Clare   3.96
Cork City   4.20
Cork County   13.92(3)
Kerry    4.93
Limerick County&City   6.52(2)
Tipperary   5.36
Waterford County&City   3.89

Galway City   2.66
Galway County   5.98
Mayo   4.36
Sligo-Roscommon-Leitrim   5.41
Cavan-Monaghan   4.59
Donegal   5.31

Instead of Mayo being dismembered, and a remnant electing four TDs, The whole of Mayo would elect TDs (likely 4 or 5) who will exercise a total of 4.36 TD votes.

The election would be conducted by STV with certain enhancements.

The quota would be Total_Votes/TD_Votes

There will be a limit (say 1.25*quota), above which surpluses will be distributed.

and a threshold (say min(1.00, max(TD_Votes*0.18, 0/60) which will be required for election. This will permit more pluralistic results, particular in smaller constituencies.

For example in Mayo with 4.91 TD votes, elected TD's will have between 0.78 and 1.25 TD votes.

In Offaly with 2.61 TD votes, between 0.60 and 1.25 TD votes.

In Galway County with 5.98 TD votes, between 1.00 and 1.25 TD votes.
72  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Republican National Convention **live commentary thread** on: July 19, 2016, 11:20:10 pm
Love those guys with the trees on their heads.

Pro tip, "Okanagan" means Tree on my Head (think about it for a second)
It hurts my noggin to think about it. Sure hope the idea doesn't take root.
73  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Census Voting Districts or VTD on: July 19, 2016, 03:40:17 pm
I am looking for population data at this point in time. Shapefiles will come in handy for my next step.

What is DRA, is that Dave's Reapportion App?

I can't access Dave's Reapportion App via the link you gave me...do I need Silverlight--I get that messge on link page.

Are Block-Tract-VTD population data in American Fact Finder/Census website, I looked and searched and tried numerous option but unable to obtain using site and selections...would you happen to know steps or sequence of clicks?
There is a trick in using American Fact Finder for areas that have changed definitions (such as VTDs). As you are selecting items, AFF is filtering corresponding items. In the case of VTDs (in Virginia at least), the 2000 VTDs are not the same as the 2010 VTDs, even when they have the same name and cover the same territory). If you select both sets, AFF decides it doesn't have any data for ALL of the VTDs, since it only has 2010 population for the 2010 VTDs, and 2000 populations for the 2000 VTDs.

So the first thing to do is to select the Year:

Topics > Year > 2010

Then under Geography, select the "All Geographic Types" radio button.

Select:  State - County - Voting District

The select the state and county, then select all the VTDs.  Add to Selection.

You could build up your selection by county, except that there is a limit on how many items you can select at a time. Fairfax has 238 VTDs, and fills up most of the capacity of 250.

So I have now selected the 238 VTDs in Fairfax County.

But let's go ahead and select:

Topics > People > Basic County/Total

You will then be given a checkbox of Race. Click it and then View or Download. You can download from the View display, so I usually View and then download.

But this is not really what you asked for, but it does illustrate typical navigation in AFF.

There is an geography:

State - County - Voting District - Census Tract or Part.

If we choose that, we can now select:

Virginia > Fairfax > Albin > both census tract (parts).

I wouldn't use this for Fairfax County, because I have just selected the census tracts for one of the 238 VTDs in the county.

So we back up and choose:

State - County - Census Tract - Block Group - Block

Select Virginia - Fairfax

At this point, you now have an option to get all the blocks for Fairfax County (and in this case Fairfax City - I assume you know about Independent Cities in Virginia).

So I select "All Blocks In Fairfax County"

Now under refine your search, enter "Geographic Identifiers" and select one of the data set. I'd probably do the SF1, since it may have some corrections.

Select View if you like, then Download. You will get a ZIP file with a CSV file, with 11,226 rows and 104 columns. You can open the CSV file directly in Excel (which I assume you have).

There is one row per census block.

Among the columns are the census tract (the census tract numbers are also included as part of the GEOID for the block). The VTD for each block is included. You may want to back up to the first example to get a list of VTD number to VTD name relationships. There are also city/CDP's and school districts which might be useful.

The Geographic Identifiers also includes the Population of the block. If you want racial data, back up to where you have selected all the census blocks for a county.

You will have to do this for each county (and independent city). If you're just doing NOVA this is probably OK, if you want to do the entire state, there is a way to get all the data in bulk (and I do mean bulk).

Let me know what you want with shapefiles.
74  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Census Voting Districts or VTD on: July 18, 2016, 06:30:23 pm
Does anyone have any insights in how to retrieve  census VTD data from Census.

I would like to correlate/associate census tract data with Census Voter Districts, for  example which census tracts and blocks are contained in each precinct for Fairfax County, Loudon County, and Prince William County Virginia.
The voting districts appear to have changes since the Census in 2010 (at least in Accomack County).

The VTDs from the 2010 Census match the results (at least in name) for the 2009 gubernatorial election. They don't match the 2013 gubernatorial elections. In Accomack, there were 21 VTDs at the time of the census and for 2009 precincts for the elections. At the 2013 election there were 17 precincts. There may have been simple consolidations, or a precinct that was eliminated might have been divided among existing precincts.

In the suburban counties there might have been new precincts.

Matching the 2010 VTDs to census tracts is real straightforward.

For the current VTDs there might be GIS files, particularly for the suburban counties.

You might also want to ask on DRA.
75  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Australian Federal Election- July 2, 2016 on: July 18, 2016, 03:32:15 pm
Declaration of House of Representatives results

What is interesting is that there is an option to have the web page read aloud.

The state abbreviations of NSW, Vic, Qld, WA, SA, Tas, ACT, and NT are read as:

New South Wales
Waugh or Roy
Australia Capital Territory

Further down:

WA is pronounced as Washington

51 Cattley St

is "51 Cattley, Saint Burnie"

Suite 14W-16W is "Sweet 14 DoubleU to 16 Watt"

5/1-3 Cornpark Circuit is "May 1 to 3"

16 July 2016 is read as July 16, 2016

Times are listed as 10.30am and read as 10 point 30 A M.  Is this conventional in Australia?

Are Level 4, Level 7, Level 13, etc. school buildings?
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