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Author Topic: Vermont Legislative Redistricting  (Read 1916 times)
Kevinstat
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« on: March 12, 2011, 12:53:50 pm »
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Current Vermont State Senate Districts

Addison Senate District (elects 2 Senators): Addison County and part of Rutland County (town of Brandon); 2000 (Census) population 39,891 or 19,945.5 per Senator (1.72% below (or -1.72% above) decimal ideal propulation per Senator of 20,294.23); 2010 (Census) population 40,787 or 20,393.5 per Senator (2.23% below (or -2.23% above) decimal ideal population per Senator of 20,858.03).

Bennington Senate District (2): Bennington County and part of Windham County (town of Wilmington); 2000 pop. 39,219 or 19,609.5 per Senator (-3.37%); 2010 pop. 39,001 or 19,500.5 per Senator (-6.51%).

Caledonia Senate District (2): Caledonia County and part of Orange County (towns of Bradford, Fairlee, Newbury, Orange, Topsham and West Fairlee); 2000 pop. 38,076 or 19,038 per Senator (-6.19%); 2010 pop. 40,114 or 20,057 per Senator (-3.84%).

Chittenden Senate District (6): Part of Chittenden County (everything except the town of Colchester); 2000 pop. 129,585 or 21,597.5 per Senator (+6.42%); 2010 pop. 139,478 or 23,246.33 per Senator (+11.45%).

Essex-Orleans Senate District (2): Essex County, Orleans County, part of Franklin County (towns of Montgomery and Richford) and part of Lamoille County (towns of Eden and Wolcott); 2000 pop. 38,657 or 19,328.5 per Senator (-4.76%); 2010 pop. 40,045 or 20,022.5 per Senator (-4.01%).

Franklin Senate District (2): Part of Franklin County (everything except the towns of Montgomery and Richford) and part of Grand Isle County (town of Alburgh (formerly Alburg)); 2000 pop. 44,056 or 22,028 per Senator (+8.54%); 2010 pop. 46,235 or 23,117.5 per Senator (+10.83%).

Grand Isle Senate District (1): Part of Grand Isle County (everthing except the town of Alburgh) and part of Chittenden County (town of Colchester); 2000 pop. (total and per Senator) 21,935 (+8.08%); 2010 pop. (total and per Senator) 22,039 (+5.66%).

Lamoille Senate District (1) Part of Lamoille County (everything except the towns of Eden and Wolcott); 2000 pop. (total and per Senator) 20,625 (+1.63%); 2010 pop. (total and per Senator) 21,476 (+2.96%).

Orange Senate District (1): Part of Orange County (everything except the towns of Bradford, Fairlee, Newbury, Orange, Topsham and West Fairlee); 2000 pop. (total and per Senator) 19,852 (-2.18%); 2010 pop. (total and per Senator) 20,049 (-3.88%).

Rutland Senate District (3): Part of Rutland County (everything except the town of Brandon); 2000 pop. 59,483 or 19,827.67 per Senator (-2.30%); 2010 pop. 57,676 or 19,225.33 per Senator (-7.83%).

Washington Senate District (3): Washington County; 2000 pop. 58,039 or 19,346.33 per Senator (-4.67%); 2010 pop. 59,534 or 19,844.67 per Senator (-4.86%).

Windham Senate District (2): Part of Windham County (everything except the town of Wilmington); 2000 pop. 41,991 or 20,995.5 per Senator (+3.46%); 2010 pop. 42,637 or 21,318.5 per Senator (+2.21%).

Windsor Senate District (3): Windsor County; 2000 pop. 57,418 or 19,139.33 per Senator (-5.69%); 2010 pop. 56,670 or 18,890 per Senator (-9.44%).

Largest difference in population per Senator in 2000 = 2,990 (14.73% of ideal population per Senator) (19,038 (-6.19%) to 22,028 (+8.54%)) - a range in in population per (small 'r') representative of 10% of the ideal population per representative is the federal de minimis (sp?) threshold above which the burdon of proof in an suit alleging unconstitutional population imbalance lies on the state if my understanding is correct.  Since one doesn't necessarily know what the population per representative of other districts will be when starting to draw districts, keeping each districts population per representative within 5% of the ideal is a good rule of thumb and is sometimes mistakenly spoken of as the federal standard (I think it would make more sense for the standard to be in deviation from the ideal, but nobody asked me).

Largest difference in population per Senator in 2010 = 4,356.33 (20.89%) (18,890 (-9.44%) to 23,246.33 (+11.45%)).

Population totals compiled from 2000 and 2010 Census numbers by county subdivision from the U.S. Census Bureau's Online web site (home page here).  See here for the 2000 figures and, perhaps after you've just logged into the new American FactFinder on another window (it might not work otherwise, the new American FactFinder recognizes "user sessions" or something like that), see here for the 2010 figures.  County figures for 2010 can be found here and here, respectively (same suggestion as above for viewing the 2010 data on the new American FactFinder).  These four tables also include totals for race and Hispanic origin (it was either that or housing units for 2010 and the tables with race and Hispanic origin were for 2000 were the most easily accessable).

[Originally posted and edited a time or two on March 12, 2011.  Edited June 26, 2011 to change the title to cover State House redistricting as well.]
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 09:55:11 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
Kevinstat
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2011, 02:21:35 pm »
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My Proposed Changes to the Current Vermont State Senate Districts for 2012 through 2020

For Starters:

The Chittenden Senate District gains a Senator to go from 6 Senators to 7.
The Caledonia Senate District loses a Senator to go from 2 Senators to 1.
The 2-member Franklin Senate District and the 1-member Grand Isle Senate District are combined to form a 3-member Franklin-Grand Isle Senate District.

From there:

From the Windham Senate District to the Bennington Senate District: the Windham County towns of Somerset, Stratton and Whitingham.

From the Addison Senate District to the Rutland Senate District: the Rutland County town of Brandon.

From the Chittenden Senate District to the Addison Senate District: in Chittenden County, the towns of Charlotte and Huntington and Buels Gore.

"From" the Franklin-Grand Isle Senate District (really from the current Grand Isle Senate District) to the Chittenden Senate District: the Chittenden County town of Colchester.

From the Chittenden Senate District to the Franklin-Grand Isle Senate District: the Chittenden County towns of Underhill and Westford.

From the Lamoille Senate District to the Franklin-Grand Isle Senate District: the Lamoille County town of Cambridge.

From the Essex-Orleans Senate District to the Franklin-Grand Isle Senate District: the Franklin County towns of Montgomery and Richford.

From the Essex-Orleans Senate District to the Lamoille Senate District: the Lamoille County towns of Eden and Wolcott.

From the Caledonia Senate District to the Essex-Orleans Senate District: the Caledonia County towns of Burke, Kirby, Lyndon, Newark and Sutton.

From the Caledonia Senate District to the Orange Senate District: the Orange County towns of Bradford, Fairlee, Newbury, Orange, Topsham and West Fairlee.

From the Orange Senate District to the Windsor Senate District: the Orange County towns of Braintree, Randolph and Tunbridge.

Also of note (although implied from the above and the current districts):

From the Grand Isle Senate District to the Franklin-Grand Isle Senate District: the Grand Isle County towns of Grand Isle, Isle La Motte, North Hero and South Hero.

Towns in the Orange Senate District remaining there: the Orange County towns of Brookfield, Chelsea, Corinth, Strafford, Thetford, Vershire, Washington and Williamstown.

All of which yield...

My Proposed Vermont State Senate Districts for 2012 through 2020

Addison Senate District (elects 2 Senators): Addison County and part of Chittenden County (towns of Charlotte and Huntington and Buels Gore); 2010 (Census) population 42,543 or 21,271.5 per Senator (1.98% above decimal ideal population per Senator of 20,858.03).

Bennington Senate District (2): Bennington County and part of Windham County (towns of Somerset, Stratton, Whitingham and Wilmington); 2010 pop. 40,577 or 20,288.5 per Senator (2.73% below or -2.73% above ideal).

Caledonia Senate District (1): Part of Caledonia County (everything except the towns of Burke, Kirby, Lyndon, Newark and Sutton); 2010 pop. (total or per Senator) 21,390 (+2.55%).

Chittenden Senate District (7): Part of Chittenden County (everything except the towns of Charlotte, Huntington, Underhill and Westford and Buels Gore); 2010 pop. 145,778 or 20,825.43 per Senator (-0.16%).

Essex-Orleans Senate District (2): Essex County, Orleans County and part of Caledonia County (towns of Burke, Kirby, Lyndon, Newark and Sutton); 2010 pop. 43,374 or 21,687 per Senator (+3.97%).

Franklin-Grand Isle Senate District (3): Franklin County, Grand Isle County, part of Chittenden County (towns of Underhill and Westford) and part of Lamoille County (town of Cambridge); 2010 pop. 63,420 or 21,140 per Senator (+1.35%).

Lamoille Senate District (1): Part of Lamoille County (everything except the town of Cambridge); 2010 pop. (total and per Senator) 20,816 (-0.20%).

Orange Senate District (1): Part of Orange County (everything except the towns of Braintree, Randolph and Tunbridge); 2010 pop. (total and per Senator) 21,628 (+3.69%).

Rutland Senate District (3): Rutland County; 2010 pop. 61,642 or 20,547.33 per Senator (-1.49%).

Washington Senate District (3): Washington County; 2010 pop. 59,534 or 19,844.67 per Senator (-4.86%).

Windham Senate District (2): Part of Windham County (everything except the towns of Somerset, Stratton, Whitingham and Wilmington); 2010 pop. 41,061 or 20,530.5 per Senator (-1.57%).

Windsor Senate District (3): Windsor County and part of Orange County (towns of Braintree, Randolph and Tunbridge); 2010 pop. 63,978 or 21,326 per Senator (+2.24%).

Largest difference in population per Senator in 2010 = 1,842.33 (8.83%) (19,844.67 (-4.86%) to 21,687 (+3.97%)).
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 11:23:38 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
Kevinstat
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 03:28:04 pm »
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Please don't wait for me to finish posting my plan (I'll do that this evening or tomorrow).  Feel free to comment on my plan (rough as it is - I've done it all but displaying it the way I do takes awhile) and/or make one (or a rough or partial plan) of your own.
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JohnnyLongtorso
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 03:54:20 pm »
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I have to say, the Vermont Senate has the most absurd way of distributing seats.

Here's a less insane way of doing things. Fifteen two-member districts, with no towns split up. Burlington is almost the perfect size for a two-member district, which is why I went with this over 30 single-member districts.



Most of the bigger towns are given districts centered around them: Bennington (yellow), Brattleboro (red), Rutland (purple), Barre (green), Montpelier (pink), South Burlington (sky blue), and Colchester (light green). And the black and brown districts are designed specifically to represent the Northeast Kingdom.
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PASOK Leader Hashemite
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 05:27:14 pm »
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The system reminds me of the old pre-OPOV way of doing things; eg representing counties.
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Bacon King
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2011, 08:35:14 pm »
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Note that Vermont law doesn't require a certain number of seats at all. In fact, ten years ago there was a big issue about the creation of the six Senator Chittenden district; there was a proposal to have that district instead be split in half with each half electing three Senators.

Also, JohnnyLongtorso, VT Republicans actually suggested your proposal ten years ago as well, but it didn't find much support. Note as well that the VT Constitution requires a pretty strict adherence to county boundaries (where presumably, if a 15 district map crosses county lines too much then there may be a legal obligation to increase/decrease the number of districts to minimize the split counties.

Hypothetically, they could even have a single district covering the entire state!
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2011, 09:45:35 pm »
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Here's a less insane way of doing things.

Why would any redistricting nut want that?  Smiley
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2011, 11:15:09 pm »
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I've finally finished (unless I notice some errors later) my post on proposed changes from the current plan and (flowing from that) my proposed plan for 2012 through 2020.  If I end up making any changes (as opposed to correcting spellings or errant figures), I'll do that in a new post.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 11:26:06 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
Kevinstat
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2011, 12:25:16 am »
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Quote from: BurlingtonFreePress.com
The legislative redistricting process in Vermont begins with an advisory commission
4:00 AM Tue., February 15, 2011
By Nancy Remsen

The new census data released last week will likely force the Legislature to redraw the boundaries for House and Senate districts to maintain balanced representations.

The Legislature will let a special reapportionment board take the first crack at drawing new districts, postponing its deliberations and decision until the 2012 session – just before elections.
...
“If history is any guide, there will be population shifts that push up against deviation boundaries,” [special master and reapportionment board chairman Tom] Little said. The commission had already agreed it wouldn’t try to make all districts perfectly equal based on population.

Full article

Italics mine.  What is it with northern New England and redistricting?  Maine redistricts two years late (although that will likely be corrected in time for the 2020s redistricting), Vermont accepts larger than generally acceptable variences in population per representative, at least in the Senate, and New Hampshire as recently as the 2000 elections had floterial districts where for part of that district there was no other district, the type of floterial district that I believe had been ruled unconstitutional in federal court long ago.  The kind of floterial districts they'll have in the coming redistricting will be at least along the general lines as the permissable kind (like two towns each with enough population for 1.5 representatives having one representative for each town and share a third), although they may try to stretch it and have do the same thing for two towns with "quotas" of, say 1.65 and 1.35 where under a component method of calculating population per representative the districts would vary by more than 10% of the ideal district population.

1.65/(1+(1.65/(1.65+1.35))) = 1.0645 (+6.45%)
1.35/(1+(1.35/(1.65+1.35))) = 0.9310 (-6.90%)
Difference of 13.35% of ideal population per representative, and that's with the two towns adding up exactly to the number of quotas as they have representatives (non-floterial + floterial).
« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 12:35:34 am by Kevinstat »Logged
Kevinstat
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2011, 10:04:11 pm »
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Proposed map for the Vermont House of Representatives:

http://vermont-elections.org/2011LABMaps.html

It eliminates all of the two-member districts.


Interesting. Does this mean they might be changing the crazy multi-member Senate districts?

It looks like they might be breaking up the bigger districts:

Quote
With half the battle behind them the board stews over what to do with the Senate. How to cut up Chittenden County was the biggest challenge. The board decided to recommend four districts with eight Senate seats.

Burlington and South Burlington will be represented by three senators.

Colchester, Milton, Winooski and all of the Grand Isle county towns will have two seats.

Williston, Essex, Westford, Jericho, Underhill and St. George will have two senators.

Shelburne, Charlotte, Hinesburg, Richmond, and Buel's Gore will be represented by one senator.

This is a big change from the current system which lumps all of Chittenden County into one district with six senators.



This is comical. They're going to have to start over with the Vermont Senate map because...

Quote
But on Friday, the board said its proposed reworking of the Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin districts contained an error, yielding 31 senators, instead of 30.

Whoops!

I thought I'd copy the recent discussion of Vermont legislative redistricting from the State Legislature Redistricting onto this thread, which I've retitled to cover State House redistricting in Vermont as well as State Senate redistricting.  jimrtex's post from last night (apart from his quote of posts that I've just quoted in this post) is next.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 10:07:48 pm by Kevinstat »Logged
Kevinstat
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« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2011, 10:10:24 pm »
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I was reading the minutes of the Legislative Apportionment Board.  It is a pretty interesting process.  The redistricting statutes says that the LAB submits their proposal to the legislature and then the legislature may approve the proposal or substitute their own.  There have been comments to the press from members of the Democratic legislative leadership suggesting that the LAB was engaging in an intellectual exercise.

The 2010-11 LAB is a tri-partisan body.  Previously, parties qualified to participate based on their vote in the gubernatorial election (25%), but there was an election with an independent where the Democratic candidate finished 3rd and missed the threshold, so it would have been a uni-partisan GOP board.  The legislature changed it so participation was based on having enough representatives elected for 3 sessions from different counties, and the Progressives qualified along with the Democrats and Republicans.

So there is a chairman appointed by the Supreme Court, and two members of each party, one appointed by the governor, and the other by the party itself.  So instead of a 5-member board, there is a 7-member board.  In the critical votes on going with single member districts, the Progressive and Republican members outvoted the Democrats and the Republican chairman who was appointed by the Supreme Court.

The LAB creates a "tentative proposal" which is then submitted to the "board of civil authority" (BCA) of towns and cities that are tentatively split.  BCA is apparently a generic term that encompasses various forms of government organization.  The BCA may recommend alternative district lines, which the LAB may consider before making their "final proposal" to the legislature.

It is not clear whether the LAB can adjust the entire proposal, or are limited to adjusting the boundaries of town-splits based on recommendations of the BCA.  In earlier versions of the the HB Plan (HB stands for Hintgen and Brooks, the two Progressive member, with Steve Hintgen being the major protagonist), there were 6 2-member "initial districts".  For example, in Middlebury, Middlebury College has enough population for a single house district, but apparently relatively few voters).  It is unclear whether if the Middlebury town board proposed a 2-member initial district whether the LAB could agree, or if they are now stuck with 2 districts.  The minutes of the latest two LAB meetings have not been approved, and are not online, but apparently the LAB decided to go absolutely uniformly to single-member districts.

The alternative GL Plan (GL stands for Gerry Gossens and Tom Little, Gossens is a Democratic member, and Little is the chairman appointed by the Supreme Court.  A Republican, he appears to have widespread cross-party respect.)  provides for the following: 44 single-member, 28 two-member, 4 three-member, 4 four-member, one five-member, and one 17-member "initial districts".

The Vermont reapportionment statutes appears to favor an apportionment, in the conventional sense, as opposed to how it is often used in the US, vs a districting plan.  The legislature approves (as a bill) a final planof initial districts.  The local BCA then subdistrict the initial districts.  If an initial district has 2 members, splitting into single member districts is optional.  If I understand the statute, a town that would be split has absolute veto power, to force either an other plan, or no split.  With an ideal population of 4172, it is pretty hard to avoid town splits if single member districts are used, but may be more avoidable with two-member districts.  This is true, even though the LAB uses a deviation of +10% to -10%, or 20% total, vs. the 10% total that other legislatures typically use.

If an initial district has 3 or more members, then the BCA must subdistrict it into a combination one and/or two member districts.  It appears that the legislature is required to accept any subdistricting plan that complies with statutory provisions - the most severe limit is that the deviation of any district must not exceed the largest deviation of the initial districts (ie + or - 10%).

During the early meetings of the LAB, it appears that Little thought he had the support to create a conventional plan, with multi-member initial districts.  Hintgen kept refining his plan and, Little would make a comment that everything the LAB produced were public records and would be available to the BCA when they did their subdistricts.  But eventually Hintgen got the majority to go with his plan.

IIUC, the HB proposal now goes to the BCA of towns that are split, and they may recommend alternative boundaries within their towns.  Because of the single-member districts there are lots of towns that are split.  Conceivably the LAB will accept all their recommendations, and they will be happy.  Alternatively, the towns will decide that the single-member districts are horrible and contact the legislators to substitute their own plan. 

A single-member plan is sure to threaten lots of incumbents.  If there are two representatives from a district with 8000 people, there is a good chance they are neighbors.   And even if they are not physical neighbors they might be politically similar.  You might have a more liberal member who happens to live in a farmhouse in a more rural part of town, but is elected by voters in town, or a store owner who lives in town who garners support from rural constituents.  Two incumbents might face one another in a single-member district, with an open seat in the same town, or an incumbent might face a less favorable electorate.

There are also quite a few RD 2-member districts.   With such small districts, personal campaigning can be effective.  It might be feasible to knock on all doors.  And there may also be a high level of civic involvement by ordinary voters.  A strong R incumbent might finish in the top 2 against two D opponents in a nominally Democratic district.  All Republicans will vote for him, and any voter who wants a bipartisan delegation will vote for him, and pick between the two Democrats.  In such a case, the Democrats are actually running against each other, and might not be willing to run as partisan clones. 

The current plan has 42 2-member districts and 66 single-member districts, so 84 representatives (56%) are elected from 2-member districts.  At the time of the OMOV decisions, Vermont elected 2 representatives from each town, so that it had a 246-member House, and there may be a sense that 2-member districts are proper, and single-member districts are exceptional.

After the LAB makes their final proposal for 150-member single member districts, and if it were approved by the legislature, that would be end of the process.  Because all the "initial districts" would be single-member districts, there would be no role for the BCA in the process.

If the GL plan had been adopted by the LAB as the tentative proposal, then there would be very little role for the BCA at this point, since its initial districts only split two towns.  In one case, Milton is split so a Grand Isle two-member district has enough population, with the rest of Milton forming another two-member district.  The other town that is split is Eden, which is split between 2 single-member districts.  If they were in a 2-member district, Johnson would have a dominant position (40% or so) in a 7-town district extending north to the Canadian border.  I'd guess that this was a patch to get a district up to enough population.

If the GL plan were approved by the legislature, then all the initial districts with 2 or more members would be subject to subdistricting by the various BCA.

So my bet is that single-member plan gets tossed by the legislature.  They might adopt the GL plan, or perhaps could take the HB plan and paste all single-member districts together, but I'd guess that they would view it to be so radical it might be totally ignored.  The GL plan has a 17-member Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski district.  The legislature might logically try to split Burlington out as its own initial district (9 or 10 members).

The LAB didn't spend too much time on the Senate plan (until the latter meetings).  Before the OMOV decisions, each county had one senator, with the remainder apportioned by population.   While the Vermont constitution requires one and two-member representative districts, it sets no limits on Senate districts.  Statute provides for apportionment of the 30 senators among counties or groups of counties.  All 14 counties, except Essex and Grand Isle would be entitled to at least one senator.

Chittenden is entitled to about 7.5 senators, with no other county entitled to more than 3.  The reapportionment statutes say that senators should be apportioned to counties or groups of counties, but also the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment should be respected.  In the past, towns have been shifted between counties, so that the county-based districts are somewhat like those in Ireland.

It appears that there are several counties that are a little bit short of enough for a whole number of districts that were rounded up, while those that an excess population were two far above to be rounded down, so instead must have had towns shifted out.  And they may have rounded Chittenden up to give it 4 2-member districts.  All in all, the rounding was imbalanced and they ended up with 31 seats.  The constitution says that county and other political subdivision boundaries should be respected, but is not specific about counties.  The statutes say counties (or groups of counties), but because of population equality have not been strictly followed in the past.  The 2-member districts in Chittenden don't really comply with the statute, unless you can make a case that large multi-member districts violate equal protection.  Do Yankees talk enough to be a protected linguistic minority?

Apparently Republicans tried to break up the Chittenden senatorial district in 2001, and failed. Like for the House, the LAB only makes a proposal which the legislature may adopt or replace.  There might be some support for smaller districts from the other counties, who are wary of 1/4 of the senate being elected from a single big city district.
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Kevinstat
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2011, 10:28:30 pm »
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Note that Vermont law doesn't require a certain number of seats at all.

Just in case anyone wonders (you probably know this, Bacon King), the Vermont Constitution does specify that "The Senate shall be composed of thirty Senators..."  Regarding the number of seats in each district, it is open ended: "The voters of each senatorial district established by law shall elect one or more Senators from that district, the number from each district to be established by the General Assembly."

In the next paragraph, though, as both Bacon King and jimrtex have alluded to, it reads, "In establishing senatorial districts, which shall afford equality of representation, the General Assembly shall seek to maintain geographical compactness and contiguity and to adhere to boundaries of counties and other existing political subdivisions."
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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2011, 11:22:57 pm »
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Note that Vermont law doesn't require a certain number of seats at all.

Just in case anyone wonders (you probably know this, Bacon King), the Vermont Constitution does specify that "The Senate shall be composed of thirty Senators..."  Regarding the number of seats in each district, it is open ended: "The voters of each senatorial district established by law shall elect one or more Senators from that district, the number from each district to be established by the General Assembly."

In the next paragraph, though, as both Bacon King and jimrtex have alluded to, it reads, "In establishing senatorial districts, which shall afford equality of representation, the General Assembly shall seek to maintain geographical compactness and contiguity and to adhere to boundaries of counties and other existing political subdivisions."
The interesting part is that before the OMOV decision, senators were apportioned by counties, and that continues to be the practice, but the constitution doesn't require it.  And there is the same language in the section for the House of Representatives, such that counties are not necessarily being given precedence over towns.

But the statutes do specify counties (or groups of counties) for apportioning senators, but then it is somewhat ignored.  During some of the discussion by the LAB, it would be noted that so and so county was 12.8% short, and then the next statement was what would be the adjustment needed to get it barely within 10%, and which neighboring county could spare a town or two without pushing it out of bounds.

The only thing in statute that might support switching to smaller districts in Chittenden is the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, which is probably the basis for moving towns between the county-based districts.  But based on the constitution, the legislature could do anything it wants, because it can change not only the districts, but the process.
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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2011, 11:35:59 pm »
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But on Friday, the board said its proposed reworking of the Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin districts contained an error, yielding 31 senators, instead of 30.

Whoops!
[/quote]

Where'd Vermont get this idea of having 150 representatives and 31 senators?
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« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2011, 04:33:53 pm »
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Quote
But on Friday, the board said its proposed reworking of the Chittenden, Grand Isle and Franklin districts contained an error, yielding 31 senators, instead of 30.

Whoops!

Where'd Vermont get this idea of having 150 representatives and 31 senators?


Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2011, 07:02:05 am »
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The LAB met to try to reduce the number of senators to 30.

The Vermont Democrats have sent out a fund-raising attacking the proposal by the Legislative Apportionment Board for single-member districts claiming that the Progressive Party is threatening single-payer health coverage.

And the minutes of the June 16 meeting of the LAB are online.  These included more discussion about the senate districts.  One member wanted 30 single member districts, while others said that this would make the senate be "another House of Representatives".

Others wanted a consistent 15 2-member districts, while some simply wanted to split Chittenden, while leaving 3-member districts elsewhere.
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2011, 07:16:31 pm »
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From VTDigger.org:

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Vermont Senate redistricting plan eliminates NEK seat
by Eli Sherman | June 30, 2011

Unfortunately for the board, the Senate has just 30 members, and the extra Chittenden County seat had to come from somewhere else.

That somewhere else was the Northeast Kingdom, which lost a senator as a result of declining population in the region.

The two-member Essex-Orleans district became a one-member shed Essex County and some towns in Orleans County to the Caledonia district, which lost its portion of Orange County which combined with Windsor County to form 2 two-member districts, and other changes are described in the article although it's not clear exactly what changes are changes from the plan the LAB had adopted last week before they realized it had one two many Senators.  You can view the plan and the population and deviation of each district here.  (The Deviation column is the districts population minus the ideal district population of a district electing that number of Senators, but the "% Dev" column is the percentage that that district's population per Senator is over the statewide population per Senator.  In other words, it's correct, although I thought it wasn't at first.)  I verified the figures on a spreadsheet I made back when I started this thread.

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With the elimination of the Northeast Kingdom seat, the board brought its overall deviation down to 14.87 percent, about the level in 2002.

That's true (the overall deviation in 2002 was 14.73%, if defined as the difference in the largest population per Senator to the smallest as a percentage of the ideal district population which seems to be what federal courts use (rather than as a percentage of whichever district's population would yeild a larger figure which would always be the smaller district, which would also always yeild a larger figure than the ideal district population being the denominator unless there was no deviation), ...

That's true, but how has Vermont gotten away with such deviations?  Maine had a House District in Limestone that had no more than 27.?% of the ideal district population (if all the census 2000 population in Limestone was in that district) from 2002 for 2004, but that was due to a delay in redistricting (and Loring Air Force base in Limestone having closed in the 90's) rather than a deviation as large as Vermont's when the districts were drawn.  Perhaps it's all for the same reason: no one bothered to challege it.  A 12 or 13 percent deviation in Maine's 1983 House district plan was upheld by the state Supreme Court court, but from a newspaper article a plan recommended by the challegers had an even larger deviation.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2011, 08:33:59 am »
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From VTDigger.org:

Quote
Vermont Senate redistricting plan eliminates NEK seat
by Eli Sherman | June 30, 2011

Unfortunately for the board, the Senate has just 30 members, and the extra Chittenden County seat had to come from somewhere else.

That somewhere else was the Northeast Kingdom, which lost a senator as a result of declining population in the region.

The two-member Essex-Orleans district became a one-member shed Essex County and some towns in Orleans County to the Caledonia district, which lost its portion of Orange County which combined with Windsor County to form 2 two-member districts, and other changes are described in the article although it's not clear exactly what changes are changes from the plan the LAB had adopted last week before they realized it had one two many Senators.  You can view the plan and the population and deviation of each district here.  (The Deviation column is the districts population minus the ideal district population of a district electing that number of Senators, but the "% Dev" column is the percentage that that district's population per Senator is over the statewide population per Senator.  In other words, it's correct, although I thought it wasn't at first.)  I verified the figures on a spreadsheet I made back when I started this thread.
I think they probably still had the Windsor 3-seater.  This is the problem when you mix up apportionment and districting.

Franklin 2.29, Lamoille 1.17, Washington 2.85, Addison 1.77, Rutland 2.96, Windsor 2.72, Bennington 1.78, and Windham 2.13, have grossly enough population for a whole number of senators (18 total vs. 17.67 ideal).

But if you place Grand Isle with Franklin (you wouldn't want to stick it in the Chittendon super district) you then have 16 total vs 15.38 ideal.

Franklin-Grand Isle 2.62, Orleans-Essex 1.61, Caledonia 1.50, and Orange 1.39 are pretty far removed from a whole number of senators.   But if you are just apportioning, you apportion 8 seats (3,2,2 and 1) vs 7.12 ideal.

Finally you have Chittendon with 7.51 ideal and even if you truncate to 7.00 you have 31 senators.

If you decide to split Chittendon, you end up with a 3-2-2 or a 2-2-2-1 split.  The only other one-seaters would be Lamoille and Orange.  And if you had a 3-seater, you might be tempted to put Burlington in it.  But Burlington is right at 2 seats (2.03).

So you add Grand Isle to Chittendon so that there can be 8 districts (7.84 ideal), split 2-2-2-2 including a Burlington district.  This restores Franklin to a 2-seater.   The whole-unit counties then have 18 senators (17.67 ideal).  

Orleans-Exeter, Caledonia, and Orange have 5 senators (4.50 ideal).   You convince yourself that this is OK since Orange is significantly past enough for one senator, and you can get some extra people from Franklin and Lamoille.   If you add these two to the NE counties.  You have 8 senators (7.96 ideal).

But this leaves the remaining whole-unit counties at 15 senators (14.21 ideal).  The excess in Franklin and Lamoille is being used two places.  To shore up the population in the neighbors to the east; and to rationalize the apportionment of senators to the whole-unit counties.  But 5 of the 6 whole-units counties in the south are under-populated (Washington 2.85, Addison 1.77, Rutland 2.96, Bennington 1.78, Windsor 2.72).  The exception is Windham with a modest surplus 2.13.

So in total, this southern region had 15 senators for and ideal population of 14.21.  The extra (31st) senator was spread over 6 counties, which was why they couldn't locate him.

Alternatively, the original plan had Orleans-Essex (2), Caledonia (2), Orange (1), and Windsor (3).   Windsor would have had a deficit of 9.1%.  Caledonia and Orange would actually be paired with a total deficit of 3.7% (in 2001, a fairly large chunk of Orange was placed in the Caledonia district.

The revised plan has Orleans (1), Caledonia-Essex (2), Orange (2), and Windsor (2) for one less district (8 to 7).  Since this northeastern area ends up with a collective surplus of 0.29 this suggests most of the patching was done here.

The final plan shifts Charlotte (Chittendon), Elmore (Lamoille), and all of Orange to the south, while only adding one senator.  This is equivalent to 1.62 senators, bringing the southern total to 15.83 ideal and 16 actual, and eliminates the hidden extra senator.


Quote
With the elimination of the Northeast Kingdom seat, the board brought its overall deviation down to 14.87 percent, about the level in 2002.

That's true (the overall deviation in 2002 was 14.73%, if defined as the difference in the largest population per Senator to the smallest as a percentage of the ideal district population which seems to be what federal courts use (rather than as a percentage of whichever district's population would yeild a larger figure which would always be the smaller district, which would also always yeild a larger figure than the ideal district population being the denominator unless there was no deviation), ...

Of course they should use the maximum absolute deviation from the ideal vs. 5%.  They are trying to hit the center of the target, with some area around it counting as a score.  The current court practice is to shoot the arrows and then shift the target to match.


That's true, but how has Vermont gotten away with such deviations?  Maine had a House District in Limestone that had no more than 27.?% of the ideal district population (if all the census 2000 population in Limestone was in that district) from 2002 for 2004, but that was due to a delay in redistricting (and Loring Air Force base in Limestone having closed in the 90's) rather than a deviation as large as Vermont's when the districts were drawn.  Perhaps it's all for the same reason: no one bothered to challege it.  A 12 or 13 percent deviation in Maine's 1983 House district plan was upheld by the state Supreme Court court, but from a newspaper article a plan recommended by the challegers had an even larger deviation.

For the House of Representatives it appears that Vermont considers +/- 10% (twice the conventional federal standard) as normative.

+/- 5% is considered safe harbor, with anything larger having to be justified by the State.  In some cases this has been done.  Wyoming at one time required each county to have one representative (or senator) and it turned out that it wasn't too horrible to do so.  Hawaii also apportions legislators by island group, though they have sometimes ignored the provision and created canoe districts that include a portion of Oahu with a portion of Hawaii or Maui.  In 2001, they danced around whether or not to include the military population in order to rationalize eliminating districts, when they probably could have done so regardless.

Vermont can probably justify larger deviations for House districts, since they respect town lines.  I think I'd be more comfortable if they first did an apportionment by county (or group) in the case of Grand Isle-Franklin and Essex-Caledonia, and then districted those individually.
But if they start dividing towns more extensively, it might be harder to rationalize.

I think Vermont would have a hard time justifying this most recent proposal for the Senate.  They can't claim that they are apportioning on the basis of counties, when they shift so many towns (9 of 23 in Windsor, and 24 of 255 overall), and there is nothing in the constitution that requires them to do so.  In addition, with some minor adjustments they could get within 5% (and eliminate two split counties).  Too often it appears that the goal is to get districts within acceptable ranges rather that to the targeted population.

So if challenged, they would argue that they respect counties, but not really, and that there is no constitutional requirement, and that they shift towns to balance population but don't do a very good job at it.

For example, Bennington starts out at 1.78 and Windham at 2.13 so they shift some population to get Bennington somwhat closer (11% to 6%).  What is truly odd is that Readsboro and Searsburg are moved from Bennington to Windham.  If you put these two towns back in the Bennington district, Bennington is within the 5% range, and the two districts are more equal in population (1.93 and 1.98).

Caledonia-Essex started out at 1.80 and ended up at 2.16, for the worst deviation of any district.  But if you move Wolcott (Lamoille) to Washington, then Caledonia-Essex is reduced to 2.08; and Washington is up to 2.98.  You also eliminate the 3-way split of Lamoille.  Alternatively, shift Stowe form Lamoille to Washington (and keep Elmore and Wolcott in Lamoille), and Lamoille would also be within 5%.

Then shift Westford to Grand Isle-Chittendon and St.George to Chittendon East, and all districts will be within 5%.  The number of towns shifted would be reduced from 24 to 21 and county splits from 9 to 7.

If Vermont wanted to go to consistent 2-member Senate districts, they could divide the state into the following regions: East (Essex, Caledonia, Orange, Windsor, Windham) 8.04 senators;
West (Addison, Rutland, Bennington) 6.51; North (Grand Isle, Franklin, Orleans, Lamoille, Washington 7.95); and Chittendon 7.51.

Place West and Chittendon together, for 16.02 with one district taking in the more rural eastern part of Chittendon together with northern Addison, then the other districts will be fairly similar to what is proposed, while eliminating the the remaining two 3-seat districts and two 1-seat districts.

Parts of Rutland would be added to Addison, and parts of Washington added to Lamoille.  The two-seat Rutland district would be centered on the city of Rutland, while that in Washington would be centered on Barre-Montpelier.  The final one-seater in Orleans would become a two-seater with all the county along with the more rural part of Franklin.
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2011, 07:59:46 pm »
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The Legislative Apportionment Board has completed work on their senate proposal.  It now goes to the legislature which may pass it into law, or simply ignore it and draw their own maps.  There is nothing in the constitution that requires county boundaries to be used, but there is in statute that the LAB is supposed to follow.  The LAB in essence honored the constitution, but not the statutes, and then compounded it by including excessive population deviation.  Oddly enough, the deviation could be within federal limits (10% of ideal population difference between the largest and smallest districts) by making a couple of changes that would reduce the number of county splits.  That is, the idea of county splits is to make the population deviation more reasonable, but two splits could be eliminated to get the deviation within constitutional limits.

The senate proposal eliminates the Chittenden super district and divides the county up into 2-member districts.   Overall, there are 15 senate districts, with two 3-seat and two 1-seat districts, and the other 11 2-seat districts.

There is also a draft proposal that the LAB considered to create 30 single member districts.
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