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51  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Time in Indiana on: March 08, 2015, 04:30:34 am
If you really think local solar noon should be the center of the day, then perhaps you'd prefer working 8 to 4 instead of 9 to 5.  The sad fact is that our culture hates mornings and has for a long time now.  I have no problem with acknowledging that reality.
7 to 5 is preferable to 9 to 7.
52  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 08, 2015, 04:20:18 am
Based on what I've read, leadership in the California Legislature does appear ready to reopen redistricting if SCOTUS rules that way. You have to look at this from the standpoint of California Democrats. In the Legislature, they are term limited and they almost certainly want to have as many seats open for aspiring legislators to move up. I would also expect Nancy Pelosi to be spending some time in Sacramento this summer. She wants to be Speaker again and a Democratic gerrymander of California would put her that much closer to her goal. There's little doubt she'll have considerable sway in creating any new map.
Legislation by the General Assembly is subject to a referendum.  Once the referendum petition is lodge, the act is suspended.  The General Assembly could attach an urgency clause, which would make the plan immune from a referendum, except that Democrats don't have a 2/3 majority in either house.

In the past, when this has happened, the California Supreme Court has let the enacted plan go into effect on a provisional basis, but that is because the previous plan had the wrong number of congressional districts.  But the current plan has the correct number and was based on the 2000 Census.

In the 1980s redistricting, Chief Justice Liberal Rose Bird also ordered that the legislative gerrymander for the house and senate go into effect, claiming that population changes since the 1970s made the 1970 plan no longer comply with OMOV.   The voters rejected the Jerrymanders by 63-65% margins.  But the incoming legislators elected on the Jerrymandered boundaries, re-enacted the plans and added urgency clauses.   Jerrymander Brown I signed the bills before he left office.

So legislature passes congressional Jerrymander.  Referendum is petitioned for.  The California Consitution requires referendums to be held at the next general election.  The California legislature has recently defined a "general election" to be the election in November of even-numbered years.

Since the Jerrymander referendum will be on the ballot in November 2016, the 2016 congressional districts will be held on the current boundaries.

In addition, there will be an initiative to correct the current redistricting provisions with regard to congressional redistricting.  The redistricting commission will propose a map to the legislature.  The legislature may adopt the commission's map, or propose an alternative.  In that case, there will be a mandatory referendum with the two plans on the ballot.
53  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 07, 2015, 01:34:53 am
Why can the people not create redistricting commissions but they have the right to enact voter ID laws? Isn't that also included in the "times, places and manner" of holding elections?
"times, places, and manner" applies to federal elections.   Or do you think that it was a generous grant by the Great White Fathers in Philadelphia to even let the States have their own government?

The People can create redistricting commissions for their State.  They can enact Voter ID laws for their own elections.   The SCOTUS has strongly indicated that States may require additional documentation of citizenship in order to register to vote in State elections.

So voter ID laws don't apply to Congressional and Presidential elections? What?
SCOTUS has indicated that States may require documentation of citizenship for registration for state and local elections, beyond what is required on the federal registration form, and two States do so.  These are quite similar to Voter ID laws, that simply require a voter to document that they are who they say they are.  And Congress has not legislated with respect to voter identification.
54  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 06, 2015, 04:43:12 pm
Why can the people not create redistricting commissions but they have the right to enact voter ID laws? Isn't that also included in the "times, places and manner" of holding elections?
"times, places, and manner" applies to federal elections.   Or do you think that it was a generous grant by the Great White Fathers in Philadelphia to even let the States have their own government?

The People can create redistricting commissions for their State.  They can enact Voter ID laws for their own elections.   The SCOTUS has strongly indicated that States may require additional documentation of citizenship in order to register to vote in State elections.
55  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 06, 2015, 10:37:43 am
How many seats would the democrats get with this map?
Would the majority leader be in trouble?

7 would be the max meaning they would lose 7 seats. Factor in a loss of 2 seats in AZ, and you have a net loss of 5. If we give the two swing districts to the Republicans, that is still a gain of 5 districts in CA for the Democrats.
Any legislation passed by the General Assembly is subject to a referendum, unless it gets a 2/3 majority in both houses.   Democrats won't have a 2/3 majority in either house after the 3 senate vacancies are filled.  And this assumes that Jerrymander Brown wants his legacy to be presiding over two gerrymanders 40 years apart, and doesn't veto the bill.

And I doubt that the General Assembly will swing into action without a court ruling specific to California.

Once the referendum petition is successful, the legislation is frozen.  Under the California Constitution, referendum are held at the next general election, and the legislature has conveniently redefined "general election" to mean election in November of even-numbered years.

The last time this happened, back in 1981, when Jerrymander Brown was the governor, Chief Justice Liberal Rose Bird, ruled that the legislative and congressional districts drawn by the legisilature, and were theoretically suspended because they were subject to referendum should be used for the 1982 elections.   But that  was because the 1970  congressional district maps had the wrong number of districts, and according to Liberal Rose Bird the 1970 legislative maps did not comply with OMOV.

But the California Supreme Court won't rule that the congressional maps drawn by the commission don't comply with OMOV.   And they certainly won't let the legislature draw new maps for the General Assembly.  So the November 2016 elections will be conducted on the current lines.

In the 1982 elections, the Democratic Jerrymander plans were defeated by a 63-65% majority.  But the General Assembly was elected on the lines that the voters rejected.  They came into office late in 1982, and re-enacted the same legislation that the voters had just rejected.  They also inserted an urgency clause (because they had obtained a 2/3 majority based on the voter-rejected districts), which prevents a referendum.   Jerrymander Brown who continued in office until 1983 signed the bill.

But the 2017 General Assembly, elected on the current district lines may not have a 2/3 Democratic supermajority.  And besides there will be another redistricting amendment approved in November 2016.  It has the following provisions:

(1) No urgency clause for redistricting measures.

(2) The redistricting commission will recommend a congressional map to the General Assembly, in 2017, and every subsequent year ending in -01.

(3) The General Assembly may adopt the recommended plan or draw their own.  If they draw their own, the two plans will be subject to a mandatory preferendum.  The General Assembly will meet in regional locations throughout the State (at least one for each five districts that their plan differs from that recommended by the commission).
56  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 05, 2015, 11:34:03 pm
Most democracies have independent commissions that are put in place by the legislature without any citizen ballot initiatives. So this issue ought, in principle, to be irrelevant. I know, of course, that the reality is different.

The idea that "the Legislature" should be interpreted to include a citizen referendum seems very dubious. In the original constitution, prior to the 17th amendment, the House is described with the following text:

Quote
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

while the Senate is described thus:

Quote
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

It seems pretty clear that the authors distinguished "the People" from "the Legislature". That's why the 17th amendment was needed.
In the early 20th Century, the SCOTUS made a distinction between "Legislature" meaning the body; and "Legislature" meaning the legislative process.  In particular, they ruled against popular election of senators, and popular ratification of constitutional amendments.  These were not powers delegated to the States, which might then delegate them to the People.  And they were not powers retained by the States, because there would be no senators or constitutional amendment without the US Constitution.

But they did make a distinction with regard to legislation regarding time, place, and manner regulation of Congress; and manner regulation for the appointment of presidential electors.  The legislative process, the manner in which they make laws, is entirely up to each individual State.  So "passing a law", might include passage in both houses, and certain timing requirements, and might be subject to a gubernatorial or popular veto (referendum).  The two particular cases where they upheld a veto of a redistricting plan were Hildebrant (popular veto) and Smiley (gubernatorial veto).  But those two instances were auxiliary to the Legislature legislating.

The lawyers for the Arizona redistricting commission are arguing that "legislative power" could mean whatever the State (constitution) says it is.  But when Seth Waxman was making an argument that Hildebrant and Smiley were precedental, Justice Breyer told him he didn't think it was helping his case, but that he was free to continue to argue it.

This suggests that Breyer would be willing to flap his wings and not rely on precedent but go off interpreting the Constitution do novo.  But that will lose Justice Kennedy.
57  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 05, 2015, 10:48:35 pm
When will the General Assembly draw the gerrymander?
58  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 05, 2015, 11:20:51 am
Can the Supreme Court rule in such a way so that this only applies to AZ and not CA?
I don't think so.
The other situation would be possible I guess?

The AZ independent commission has 4 state legislators members, while the CA independent commission: 0.
This is not true.
59  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 04, 2015, 08:42:43 pm
Does this have a real chance of getting struck down?

About 2 to 1 odds is my guess. The only hope for the Commission is that Kennedy, after pounding them in oral argument, might reflect and think better of it all. But then Kennedy was a militant when it came to killing off Obamacare. His moderate reputation is waning. Breyer said nothing by the way in oral argument. That is not a good sign either. He's not afraid of talking if he thinks there is a point to be made that serves the cause of his wing of the Court.
Breyer did question the attorney for the Commission, Seth Waxman.  Breyer told him that he didn't think that his arguments were helping his case, but that he was free to continue arguing that way.
60  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 04, 2015, 06:52:28 pm
I have always believed that, when two reasonable interpretations of constitutional provisions exist, the Courts should err on the side of judicial restraint. Otherwise, the judicial power oversteps its boundaries and becomes essentially omnipotent. Of course, this has already happened countless times both in history and in recent times.
What would be a reasonable interpretation of the following?

"Removes redistricting authority from the Arizona Legislature"

 
61  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'historie on: March 04, 2015, 03:22:48 pm
There is a simple fix available to states with independent commissions. Follow IA's lead and send plans to the legislature for an up or down vote. In IA the bureau that drafts the bills is given the task of drawing the legislative and congressional maps following statutory criteria. The bureau sends the plans to the legislature for an up or down vote without amendment. If the plan fails it goes back to bureau for another try, perhaps guided by comments the legislature is permitted to send with their rejection. The process is repeated up to three times. If the third plan is rejected, then the matter goes to the courts.

In commission states, just replace the bill drafting bureau with the commission, but otherwise follow that procedure. The legislature stays in the process with the final say on the map.

But in Iowa, didn't the legislature create the structure in the first instance? I am not sure an initiative based law not passed by the legislature, that just has the legislature involved at the end with a mere veto power to send it to the courts, will pass muster, assuming SCOTUS strikes down the AZ structure.

I think that will be a question many will be looking at the opinion to determine. There are lots of initiative-based election laws in states that could be impacted based on the questions from the liberal justices. If the ruling stays narrow to the act of redistricting and overturns AZ, will it be because it was by initiative or because it was a plan without legislative approval. The legislature need not be the sole approver of the plan since most states require the Gov's signature on the redistricting bill. It seems to me that initiatives may still be able to dictate the manner in which the legislature performs its redistricting function, even if they can't strip that function entirely.
The claim is made that voter-approved measures such as this one from Illinois would be in jeopardy.

"No person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or income."

Is someone going to challenge this because it was too broadly drawn and includes federal elections?

Is it even a manner regulation, or is it a voter qualification regulation?  If a person is qualified to be a voter, what are they qualified to do?  The answer is "cast a ballot".  And if Illinois requires registration as a prerequisite to casting a ballot, isn't that simply an extension of how a person qualifies to vote?

But States have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the franchise, subject to limitations in the US Constitution.
62  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'histoire on: March 04, 2015, 02:53:00 pm
What is the constitutional rationale behind this? It seems utterly nonsensical to me.

The text of the Constitution, that specifically states that it is the state legislatures that draw the lines, rather than merely referring to the states as having that power.

I assume you refer to Article 1, Section 4: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators."

First of all, one could make the argument that, in States where popular initiatives are recognized, the people itself constitutes one branch of the "legislature". Since the US Constitution contains no precise definition of the term, the legislature has to mean "those who hold legislative power". If the State Constitution recognizes a right for the people to legislate directly through initiatives or referendums, then the people voting for these initiatives are functionally equivalent to elected representatives voting on a bill.

If the power to alter electoral regulation is vested in the holders of legislative power in a given State, then it follows that citizens have the same right as their representatives to enact electoral regulations. Secondly, the exercise of the power must always come with the possibility to delegate such power to a different body. If the people, in their quality of legislators, resolve to grant their redistricting power to a nonpartisan commission, they are merely exercising their Constitutional right to its full extent.
Is "Legislature" used elsewhere in the US Constitution?   How does that conform to your understanding?

SCOTUSBLOG analysis

Transcript of Oral Arguments

63  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'historie on: March 04, 2015, 02:29:11 pm
Yeah, I'm not even sure why the AZGOP did this in the first place. Are they that pissed off at Colleen Mathis that they'd be willing to throw the entire party under the bus?

Isn't it the case though, that IA-style commissions may still be constitutional, considering that they've still got some legislative input?

Iowa is a legislature created commission (as opposed to initiative created by the voters without legislative input), as to which the Legislature has some input in any case. It's Constitutionally safe. Ditto for all Court drawn maps, ala NY and MN.
It is the legislature's service arm that prepares the plans.  The legislature must approve the plan (they have rejected a plan in the past).  And they are operating under state statute pass by the legislature.

New York's new commission is more interesting, since it requires legislative approval of the plan (2/3 majority), and permits the legislature to replace a map.  So it in a sense it does not bypass the legislature, but does change the procedure by which certain legislation is enacted.

The purpose of a a State Constitution is to dictate how the government is constituted, particularly the Legislature.  It is essential that the constitution dictate the legislative process.

The next tier would be Florida's law, where the legislature still draws the map, but the Constitution dictates the standards that law must comply with.
64  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Per SCOTUS, initiative created redistricting commissions may be l'historie on: March 04, 2015, 02:16:12 pm
"The Sky is Falling" (not directed at Miles, but the Brennan Center)

Most of the laws are general in nature and apply to all elections.  If a state constitution permits use of voting machines, then even if a wobbly court decided that the use of voting machines for federal elections was not constitutional, the legislature would simply pass a law permitting use (or they probably already have enacted all kinds of legislation with regard to voting machines).
65  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: March 03, 2015, 09:16:19 am
I think the Long Island example sounds like a political gerrymander to either help or hurt Peter King.
I'm not even sure how to respond to your thoughts on Long Island, except to cite Emerson's quip about how "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".  I mean, have you seen the current NY-2?  Do you have any sense of the history and geography of Long Island?  Does anyone think that the current district (which is, BTW, an R+1 PVI district surrounded by R+2, EVEN, and D+3 districts) was drawn for the purposes of being a gerrymander?  

I mean, I respect that this might be a corner case where optimal lines end up being sacrificed for the good of better redistricting everywhere else.  But it's a sacrifice all the same.
Who drew the current New York districts, and why did they do so?

Suffolk is entitled to 2.08 districts.  HMM how about one on the South  Shore and one on the north.  You pick where the other 0.08.

Nassau is entitled to 1.87 districts.  Add in the 0.08 from Suffolk, and take 0.05 from Queens, and you have two districts.  One North Shore and one South Shore.


66  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: March 02, 2015, 01:30:37 am
While there will be some county division in this phase, multiple spanning of counties will not be permitted.  Multiple spanning is when two or more districts share portions of two counties. 

I do worry that, while it is a good rule for 95% of our districts, absolute prohibition of double-spanning might be problematic in several cases.  Most importantly, it might be mutually incompatible with following the VRA in some areas– VA-3 and NJ-10/8 come immediately to mind; and I can imagine similar situations arising in places like South Florida and east of Los Angeles. 

To which I can imagine you saying, "so much the worse for the VRA", and that's fair– holding 50% BVAP districts sacrosanct is not really necessary in those areas for electing the candidate of choice.  But if we're trying to make an action plan that has a chance of being adopted, it would be better to build in some flexibility for those situations.

And, well, there are a couple other cases where double-spanning might be appropriate.  Say, if you have a county which is discontiguous (as exist in Massachusetts and Louisiana), or functionally discontiguous by dint of having two areas which aren't accessible to each other except by leaving the county (the rural NE corner of King comes to mind).  Or, and this is admittedly a loosey-goosey "community of interest" plead but it is a universally accepted one that oughtn't be dismissed lightly, double-spanning Nassau and Suffolk to get a North Shore and South Shore district.
You might be able to make a case for one district spanning the San Bernardino-Los Angeles county line, one in the Pomona-Ontario area, and another in the desert north of mountains.   I like the structuring effect of only having one district cross the Orange-Los Angeles line.  It is better than completely ignoring it.

VA-3 doesn't conform to the Gingles test.  When it was first drawn the district court said if doubted that a compact majority BVAP district could be drawn.   And that district had a 60% BVAP.  They "corrected" that district by removing Portsmouth.  It hardly makes a district more compact by removing the largest concentration of blacks, and forcing the district to jump back and forth across the James, and skip Portsmouth, but include parts of Norfolk.  In the latest litigation, Virginia claimed they were trying to reduce the number of county splits - but couldn't explain why a majority of the splits were because of VA-3.

The basic units do not have to strictly conform to counties (or parishes).  The two parts of St. Martin could be treated as separate units, or the portion of Iberville which separates them could be added to rejoin them (it is virtually unpopulated).  I would treat Grand Isle (LA) as a separate unit.

In Massachusetts, counties might not be the basic unit, or the two exclaves of Norfolk County could be placed with counties that caused them to be separated.   When Norfolk was set off from Suffolk, Hingham and Hull were in Norfolk, but ended up in Plymouth, separating Cohasset.  Roxbury and Dorchester were in Norfolk, but as Boston expanded southwestward it eventually cut off Brookline.

I think the Long Island example sounds like a political gerrymander to either help or hurt Peter King.
67  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: March 01, 2015, 04:53:48 pm
Definitions

Quota The idea population of a district. The quotient of the total population divided by the number of districts. For Michigan congressional districts, the quota is the state population (9,883,640) divided by the number of congressional districts (14), which is the quota of 705,974.

Normalization The population of an area may be normalized by dividing by the quota. For example, the population of Ingham County (280,895) divided by the quota is 0.395, or 39.5%. That is Ingham County has a population that is slightly less than 2/5 of the ideal district size.

Magnitude The magnitude of an area is its population divided by the quota and rounded to the nearest integer.  Thus, an area with a magnitude of four, would have the population necessary to create four congressional districts.

Deviation The difference between the population of an area, and the ideal population for the area. This is conventionally expressed as a percentage of the quota. If an area has a population greater than the ideal population, the deviation will be positive; if less than the ideal population, the deviation will be negative.

Absolute Deviation The absolute value of a deviation.

Primary Unit The primary unit for constructing congressional districts. Typically, this will be a county.

Secondary Unit  The secondary unit for constructing congressional districts, when primary units must be divided. In states that have towns or townships, they as well as some municipalities may be used as secondary units.

Tertiary Unit  The tertiary unit for constructing congressional districts, when secondary units must be divided. These may be neighborhoods in cities.

All units will be predefined. Units must properly nested. So, for example, if a city extends across county lines, either the city must be treated as two separate secondary units, or the county boundary for purposes of drawing congressional districts must be adjusted to include the entire city. There might be a minimum size of secondary unit for which tertiary units must be defined, perhaps 10% of a quota.

Contiguous Two units are contiguous if they have have a common boundary. Point contiguity occurs when the two units only meet at a point, for example at a corner that is shared by two counties. Near point-contiguity occurs when there is an extremely short border between two units, such as sometimes occurs when adjustments are made in the Public Land Survey System to accommodate a spherical earth.

Connected Two units are connected if they are contiguous and it is reasonably easy to go between the two units. Units that are connected may be directly included in the same district. Contiguous units, that are not connected may be included in the same district, but they must also include connecting units that link the two units.

The connectivity graph will be predefined. The purpose of connectivity is to close loopholes that a literal contiguity constraint would permit, such as using point contiguity, or near-point contiguity, or a jump across a body of water to build a district.  Connectivity does not indicate that placing the units in the same district is desirable, but rather that it is possible.

Unless there is a significant barrier, such as a mountain range or body of water, that is not easily traversed on a daily basis, two units with a substantial border should be considered connected.  When there is a minimal border, consideration should be given to whether there is a direct, non-circuitous route between the units. The route may traverse other units so long as it does not pass through populous areas, or drawn in such a way as to evade populous areas.

In areas of continuous similar land use, such a agricultural areas, or urban areas, that continuity may form the connection. Within a county, most contiguous areas, other than point contiguous, or near-point contiguous areas, should be considered connected, the government and media market form a connection even if there is not an identifiable highway between the areas.

A measure of the relative length of the boundary between two units is the the shortest distance between the end points of the common boundary divided by square root of the area of the smaller unit.

If this is less than 5%, the units should be considered near-point contiguous, and not connected, unless there is strong evidence of a connection, such as a population concentration right on the border.

If it is greater than 20%, the two units should be considered connected, unless there is an extreme barrier to everyday travel between the two units.

Between these limits, consideration should be given to the directness of travel, as well as similarity of development and land use on either side of the border.


Simplified Boundary Length  The simplified boundary length is distance along a boundary using straight line segments that connect the end points of common borders between units.  Borders within the oceans, Great Lakes, and major lakes is disregarded.

The simplified boundary length is used to measure the perimeter of a district, without penalizing borders that follow a meandering river, or are somewhat irregular.

Urban County Cluster  An urban county cluster (UCC) is the portion of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), that contains the densely populated areas.  Specifically, a UCC is comprised of those counties in an MSA that have at least 25,000 persons residing in Urbanized Areas (UA), or if less than 25,000 persons, they represent 40% or more of the population.

The Census Bureau delineates a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) based on a central counties or central counties containing an Urbanized Area core, and adjacent counties that have significant commuting to or from the central counties.  Often, fairly rural counties can be lassoed into an MSA. The land is more affordable, but jobs may be less plentiful.  If someone is willing to commute, they may enjoy the benefits of both a rural lifestyle and employment.  But these counties are not essential to the MSA.  On the other hand, the Census Bureau may exclude some urbanized counties from the central county, based on the grandfathering of historical definitions.  We would recognize these counties as being part of the urban footprint (or sprawl), and economically tied through employment.
68  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: February 28, 2015, 08:00:03 pm
The process would be conducted in multiple phases.


Phase 1.  Divide the state in to whole county regions, each of which has a population equal to roughly an integer number of districts. 

In less densely populated areas, each region will correspond to a single congressional district, which may only need minor adjustments to meet equal-population standards.  In more-densely populated areas, particularly major metropolitan areas, regions will correspond to multiple districts.

This phase serves the objectives of respect for major metropolitan areas.  It requires use of the most important political subdivisions, the counties, to be used as building blocks for districts.  And it encourages crowd-sourcing, since creation of the regions is a much more amenable task than creation of a complete map.


Phase 2.  Refine the boundaries between the regions to bring them into Supreme Court standards for population equality.  In less densely populated areas, the regions will become the final district boundaries.   Since Phase 1 identified the size of the adjustment, and location between pairs of regions, this phase can be done independently and parallel.  Each adjustment will be done by shifting whole townships and cities between the regions.

This phase respects secondary political subdivisions, while substantially maintaining the county-based regions delineated in the first phase.  Because the second phase is done independently for each adjustment, it facilitates crowd sourcing since alternatives may be proposed for each county, without having to evaluate combinations of changes.


Phase 3.  Define congressional districts in mult-district regions.  Each region will be treated divided separately.   While there will be some county division in this phase, multiple spanning of counties will not be permitted.  Multiple spanning is when two or more districts share portions of two counties.  Alternatively, it means that only one district will cross a county boundary.

While district boundaries within metropolitan areas are less likely to conform to county boundaries, they are still respected by preventing unnecessary division of counties.  District boundaries will largely conform to secondary political subdivision boundaries.  Crowd-sourcing is supported by concentration on a single metropolitan area.
69  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Major City vs. Giant Suburb on: February 26, 2015, 02:27:14 am
So what about Long Beach? Is it the largest suburb? (Not counting St. Paul and Ft. Worth obviously)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Long Beach might be the largest city that isn't a county seat.
Are New York City and Baltimore county seats?

Mesa, AZ will likely overtake Long Beach by the end of the decade.  Kansas City, MO which is just behind Long Beach is not the county seat of Jackson County.  Virginia Beach, VA is just behind Kansas City, and is not unambiguously a county seat.  Three cities with over 300.000 persons which are not county seats are Arlington, TX; Autora, CO; and Anaheim, CA.  St. Louis, MO also has over 300,000 for now.

Cities that have their own county (Philly, StL, Va. Beach, etc.), shouldn't really count as not being a county seat.

That leaves...

Long Beach, CA
Kansas City, MO (though Wiki says it's pretty much a second county seat)
Mesa, AZ
Arlington, TX
Aurora, CO
Anaheim, CA

Only Kansas City is the largest city in its county. For some reason, its election results report individually from the county.

If KCM doesn't count, what would be the largest city that's their county's largest city that is not a county seat?
Anaheim is the largest city in Orange County.  Aurora is the largest city in Arapahoe County, though it extends in two others.

Kansas City has its own election board for the portion of the city within Jackson County.  On the SOS, website, the local election authorities are listed by the county name with the exception of:

St.Louis County
St.Louis City
Jackson County, excluding Kansas Ctiy
Kansas City, within Jackson County
Platte County Board of Elections

The first two recognize the political distinction.  It may be that large cities had their own board of elections, but all but that of Kansas City have been absorbed, or it might be that no cities other than St.Louis and Kansas City were recognized as large enough to have their own BOE.  Springfield is (or was) much smaller than the two big cities.   As Kansas City expanded north of the Missouri River, Clay and Platte may have simply continued to administer elections (34% of KC population is now north of the river), so it is not exactly true to say that KC elections are reported separately.

I don't know the reason why "Platte County Board of Elections" is used rather than "Platte".  It may be an attempt to disambiguate from Platte City, or perhaps a historical reflection of a time when Kansas City conducted its own elections in the county, if it ever did.
70  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Best GOP counties that aren't particularly religious on: February 26, 2015, 01:33:48 am
A plurality of Loving county has no religion.
Not surprising given that no children attend school in the county.
71  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Redistricting - Jimrtex, Alternate Process, Scoring System on: February 26, 2015, 01:24:53 am
The objectives of this scoring system are:

1. Strong incentive to respect political subdivisions.
2. Respect for major metropolitan areas.
3. Encourage crowd-sourcing.

Reasons for these objectives are as follows:

1. Strong incentive to respect political subdivisions.

A. Serves as check on gerrymandering.   Splitting public subdivisions leads to districts intricately drawn for political advantage.

B.  Respect for political subdivisions is good public policy.  Election administration is simplified.   Voters will be able to comprehend which district they live in, and be able to better focus on who their representatives are.   They will be able to join with their neighbors in electing a representative, increasing the likelihood that the representative will be responsive to their common concerns.  It will increase the likelihood that those elected will be representative of their district.

2. Respect for major metropolitan areas.

A.  Districts will be more compact.  Districts will be more likely to be entirely (or mostly) within larger metropolitan areas, reducing campaign costs.  Voters in less populous areas will not be overwhelmed by the mass of voters in the metropolitan areas.   Districts will be less likely to span across 100s of miles.  Districts that do extend outside the metropolitan areas may still have some affinity with the metropolitan city, through common media sources, shared major facilities such as airports, hospitals, sports teams, etc.

3. Encourage crowd-sourcing.

A. Makes the entire process more transparent, reducing the ability to gerrymander.  Public hearings are of limited utility, as the "public" will tend to be agents of special interests, and the public officials will be unwilling to tip their hand.  They will say they they are their to listen, but may forget what they have heard, or be unwilling or unable to apply it.
72  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Major City vs. Giant Suburb on: February 25, 2015, 10:44:29 pm
It has to do with whether to city developed independently of the larger city or if it was a result of people moving there to work in the city/people in the city moving there to get out of the city.

Fort Worth is a suburb of Dallas, Baltimore is not a suburb of DC.
Fort Worth does not qualify under your definition.
73  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Major City vs. Giant Suburb on: February 24, 2015, 06:13:15 pm
So what about Long Beach? Is it the largest suburb? (Not counting St. Paul and Ft. Worth obviously)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Long Beach might be the largest city that isn't a county seat.
Are New York City and Baltimore county seats?

Mesa, AZ will likely overtake Long Beach by the end of the decade.  Kansas City, MO which is just behind Long Beach is not the county seat of Jackson County.  Virginia Beach, VA is just behind Kansas City, and is not unambiguously a county seat.  Three cities with over 300.000 persons which are not county seats are Arlington, TX; Autora, CO; and Anaheim, CA.  St. Louis, MO also has over 300,000 for now.
74  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: February 24, 2015, 05:49:54 am
We can further sever the graph into areas where the regions collectively are very close in population to an integer multiple of the quota.  When that is the case we can eliminate the shifts between these multi-region areas, since they don't improve the overall equality much.



To qualify as a separate area, the absolute deviation of the area from an integer multiple of the quota must less than the 0.5% x quota x sqrt(number_districts).  This is to prevent placing several underpopulated regions into an area and spreading deviation in such a way that all the districts are barely within the 0.5% limit.

For the example plan, the area of magnitude 8 (pink-lime-gray), must be within
0.5% x sqrt(8) of 8.00 quotas.  That is between 7.986 and 8.014 quotas.  Since 8.004 is within these limits it may be isolated.



As with the original 7-vertex graph, we can calculate the shifts within each area. The overall effect is small.  While reducing the number of shifts from 7 to 5, the total shifted is only reduced from 8.90% of a quota to 8.80% of a quota.

75  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Chops and Erosity - Great Lakes Style on: February 23, 2015, 09:14:15 pm
They can determine if the South Lyon/Brighton/Howell urbanized area, which is separate from the Detroit urbanized area, means that Livingston can be split off as much as other CSA counties like Monroe and Washtenaw that happen to have an older center that qualified them for their own MSA.
That is an interesting point.  I'd rather go in the opposite direction, and keep Monroe/Washtenaw in the greater Detroit area in keeping with my respect for CSAs; barring the adoption of that I've stuck to the next best thing and kept them with each other at least.  
This is simply a result of the Census Bureau grandfathering in some previous definitions when trying to determine where to split urban areas.   Because urban areas can hop and skip along highways they can extend forever.  So the Census Bureau decided to chop them at or near county lines.

Livingston used to be in the Ann Arbor metropolitan area (along with Lenawee).  So when defining urban areas based on continuous (plus hop and skip) development it got its own urbanized area.   Since the division line is near the county line (at an isthmus in the dense development peninsula), part of Livingston's urbanized area (it got its own because it is physically separate from Ann Arbor's US) it extends into Oakland County, and is named after a community in Oakland County (South Lyon).  Meanwhile the Detroit UA now extends into the northern part of the county.

The South Lyon-Howell UA is really a fiction.  Livingston is a bedroom county.

While St. Clair County has Port Huron it is relatively small, and on the eastern edge of the county.  It is easy to get into Macomb and also into Oakland and Wayne - and 1/3 of employees resident in the county do so.

Ann Arbor has a distinct identity and economy.  While there is some commuting into Wayne County, 77% of the employees stay in the county.   Monroe County has a split orientation.  There is almost as much commuting to Lucas, OH as to Wayne.  At one time Monroe was in the Toledo MSA.   The pull of Detroit has pulled it away from Toledo, but Detroit has not captured it.

If we did have to go outside Detroit UCC (as we will in 2020), then Washtenaw and Monroe would be natural targets.
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