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Author Topic: Ohio redistricting proposal poised for failure  (Read 2547 times)
krazen1211
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« on: July 18, 2012, 06:52:15 pm »
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http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/news/state-regional/redistricting-petitions-are-short-130000-signature/nPx3M/

Petitioners seeking a constitutional amendment on congressional and state redistricting reform are short on the number of signatures required to put the issue on the November ballot, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office announced Wednesday.

Voters First submitted 466,352 signatures to the office July 3 and 254,625 — about 55 percent — were certified as belonging to registered Ohio voters. Enough signatures were collected in 34 of Ohio’s 88 counties to meet the required 5 percent of the total vote cast for governor in the 2010 election, 10 counties short.

The group has 10 days to submit more than 130,000 valid signatures and meet the county threshold. In three of the state’s largest counties — Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Lucas — more signatures were deemed invalid than valid.




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greenforest32
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 09:29:03 pm »
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If Democrats don't want Republicans to have a lock on the House for the next 10 years, they'd pass automatic voter registration in states they control and redistricting commission initiatives in Michigan, Ohio, and Florida: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/States_with_initiative_or_referendum



Talk about being incompetent...
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 06:31:16 am »
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You both are approaching this from a disturbingly slanted viewpoint of what is best for my party and not what is best for the people. It is that very attitude of "all I care about is what is best for my party" that has turned redistricting into a corrupt mess.


How about independent commissions in all 50 states, not just the ones where Democrats want to undo GOP gerrys. And please lets not dance on the grave of an effort to create a commission in any state.
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 06:50:24 am »
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You both are approaching this from a disturbingly slanted viewpoint of what is best for my party and not what is best for the people. It is that very attitude of "all I care about is what is best for my party" that has turned redistricting into a corrupt mess.


How about independent commissions in all 50 states, not just the ones where Democrats want to undo GOP gerrys. And please lets not dance on the grave of an effort to create a commission in any state.

The way it should be.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 07:30:42 am »
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Who's backing gerrymandering? I've always favored stripping state legislatures of the ability to gerrymander by federal law but that's obviously not going to happen right now and unilaterally disarming means those who play dirty will win.

The fact is Republicans have more seats gerrymandered in OH/TX/FL/NC/PA/etc than Democrats do in Illinois/Maryland/etc and Republicans certainly are not going to back redistricting commissions after the one they did in California and its associated results because it would mean they lose seats.

The only commissions adopted recently were done by ballot measure and as you can see from the map above, not all states allow for initiatives and even the ones that do would probably need a constitutional initiative to avoid the state legislature tampering/overturning it.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 07:38:37 am »
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The problem is there is no way to do this nationwide. So you have to go state by state and when it comes down to it, if you are an activist in say ILL who say's "I am not gonna do anything in my state because all these GOP SOBs in TX, FL, OH, NC etc etc", it sounds very much like putting the interests of one party over that of the people. It is certainly an argument for an unnacceptable status quo.

If I could change NC, I would change NC. I don't give a damn that its the GOP doing it or whether or not ILL cleans up there act first. 

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greenforest32
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 07:45:10 am »
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The problem is there is no way to do this nationwide.

Ask yourself which party in Congress would be more opposed to passing a federal law mandating independent commissions in every state.

The status quo does not benefit the parties 50:50 and when working on a state-by-state basis, it should be done in order of removing the most unfair which means starting with the Republican gerrymanders.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 07:50:32 am »
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No, it should be based on getting as many states as you can get without consideration of political concerns. My concern is restoring/maximizing the integrity of the process, not ensuring a balance between the two parties, which would come at the cost of that standard.

Such a federal law is probably unconstitutional.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 08:04:44 am »
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You can't avoid considering the political concerns here. There's 4 options:

1. Federally mandate independent redistricting in every state at the same time
2. Implement redistricting commissions done as soon as possible in any state with no order
3. Implement redistricting commissions in a specific order
4. Leave everything as it is

The reality is option 2 is not the most fair (option 1 is) when you consider the status quo and that not every state has the opportunity to set up commissions but because no one is going to do option 1, we're going to have to rely on option 2/3 and the courts until it becomes so lopsided that everyone demands option 1. That's probably the only way for the Electoral College to die as well.

And the parties suck, I'd like to pass proportional representation alongside the federal redistricting law to allow multiple parties but that's even less likely than independent commissions in every state.

This country's electoral system is terrible.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 08:30:55 am »
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The problem is two is the only viable option. Are you just going to pass up an opportunity in ILL or OH because of what is happening in other states. If it gets on the ballot, I am confident enough force can be brought to get them passed from a combination of independent groups and the minority party in that state. I don't see why the results in CA (which are unknown until November for one thing) would dissuade the GOP in ILL from supporting a change in the process, especially if they have nothing left to lose after November.

Three is essentially number four, with a cover of partisan outrage at another state. The end result is the same and nothing will change. I don't see the Feds ever getting involved in the process of redistricting save from a VRA standpoint so number one isn't a realistic option. On the contrary, I think the involvement of the Federal gov't will actually decline depending on what the courts do. All there is to change the system is number two and if the opportunity comes along to change OH, to change ILL, it should be taken. It is one less to worry about.

I don't see why there is a cause for such pessimism. Look at how well things have gone in so many states, that CA and NY have made great strides. Florida now has standards at least and may have a commission by the next round. The public is there I think and we will see modifications in these states if necessary, but by 2020, the number of gerrymanders will be counted on one hand. There isn't anything wrong with the current system, except that it has been corrupted for partisan gain. You can't solve that by approaching the solution on a partisan basis, that will simply extend the problem.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2012, 08:54:20 am »
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We know option 3 is going to turn into option 2 once both parties get involved but, again, there are 25 states with no initiative system and unless the federal government gets involved through a federal mandate, those 25 states are unlikely to get commissions. More likely in those states will be a federal court imposed map due to lawsuits or deadlines not being met because of split  legislative control/gubernatorial vetos. Which means the problem persists as the court decisions can be partisan too.

Even if we got commissions in Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, and Florida, Democrats would probably have a net gain and we get 5 more states without legislative redistricting which is why I was complaining about them being incompetent by not pushing for those commissions in states where it's an option.
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Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2012, 09:02:58 am »
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Atleast one of those gray states on your map already has a commission. Atleast two more have very strict county preservation requirements that have limited gerrymandering attempts, severely.


Yes, they court plans can be partisan, but both NY and CO were fairly decent in my estimation.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2012, 09:10:26 am »
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Yeah but the states that did have those commissions without a ballot measure (New Jersey, Iowa) were set up a long time ago. It was not a recent development and it's unlikely other states will voluntarily give up their control. Plus the problem with relying on the courts is they have refused to hear most gerrymanders. The North Carolina, Florida, and Illinois maps passed through the court system.

The best solution is a federal independent redistricting mandate.
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tmthforu94
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2012, 09:20:28 am »
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The problem is there is no way to do this nationwide.

Ask yourself which party in Congress would be more opposed to passing a federal law mandating independent commissions in every state.

The status quo does not benefit the parties 50:50 and when working on a state-by-state basis, it should be done in order of removing the most unfair which means starting with the Republican gerrymanders.
The party that controls the most states would obviously be more opposed. You say this like the GOP are the only bad guy, but I GUARENTEE that if the tables were flipped and the Democrats controlled most state legislatures, a lot of Democrats in Congress would oppose a nonpartisan commission.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2012, 09:28:47 am »
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I was directing my comments to the situation that exists today and while tampering with the electoral system to benefit both parties has been a bipartisan effort (look how Democrats/Republicans shut out third parties via FPTP/Top-two runoffs/high filing fees or signature requirements/etc), Republicans have certainly loved pushing measures that making voting and governing harder than necessary (supermajority requirements, unlimited campaign spending, restrictive voting time/registration periods, etc).

Neither of them is innocent, but one is worse than the other. All the more reason to strip them of the ability to tamper with it.
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tmthforu94
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2012, 09:32:42 am »
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I was directing my comments to the situation that exists today and while tampering with the electoral system to benefit both parties has been a bipartisan effort (look how Democrats/Republicans shut out third parties via FPTP/Top-two runoffs/high filing fees or signature requirements/etc), Republicans have certainly loved pushing measures that making voting and governing harder than necessary (supermajority requirements, unlimited campaign spending, restrictive voting time/registration periods, etc).

Neither of them is innocent, but one is worse than the other. All the more reason to strip them of the ability to tamper with it.
I wouldn't say the GOP is worse. If Democrats had the power, they'd be doing the same thing. However, the people put the GOP in charge.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2012, 09:41:28 am »
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Yeah, one low-turnout midterm election where 50%+ of registered voters didn't vote and a further 20-30% of the electorate wasn't even registered to vote means the party that wins that election should be able to draw maps that keep them in power for the next 10 years? It would be just as wrong if Democrats did that and I would support independent redistricting in that flipped scenario.

The parties should not be able to draw their own seats. It just reinforces our terrible two-party system. I don't like Democrats much at the end of the day but if there's one party that puts 'party before country' it's the Republicans. Just look at them in the Senate.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 09:51:34 am by greenforest32 »Logged
Lt. Governor TJ
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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2012, 11:40:10 am »
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How about we propose these commissions for 2020 redistricting instead of the middle of the decade when one party is the clear winner and the other the clear loser? Perhaps if it were something other than an obvious political move it would have support across the board.
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muon2
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« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2012, 10:47:03 pm »
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You can't avoid considering the political concerns here. There's 4 options:

1. Federally mandate independent redistricting in every state at the same time
2. Implement redistricting commissions done as soon as possible in any state with no order
3. Implement redistricting commissions in a specific order
4. Leave everything as it is

The reality is option 2 is not the most fair (option 1 is) when you consider the status quo and that not every state has the opportunity to set up commissions but because no one is going to do option 1, we're going to have to rely on option 2/3 and the courts until it becomes so lopsided that everyone demands option 1. That's probably the only way for the Electoral College to die as well.

And the parties suck, I'd like to pass proportional representation alongside the federal redistricting law to allow multiple parties but that's even less likely than independent commissions in every state.

This country's electoral system is terrible.

I'm a bit puzzled by the part I've bolded. Most studies I have read would argue that moves to a true proportional system tend to strengthen partisanship over individual representation. Italy is sometimes cited as an example where proportional voting leads to voters ignoring the candidates in favor of the label after the name. Is that the direction you prefer?

On the other hand your goal seems to be multiple parties, which can be accomplished with FPTP systems such as in Canada. The need to form majority coalitions in the legislature tends to drive two of the parties to major positions in any system. The question is how to best provide for alternative views.

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« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2012, 12:46:26 am »
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You can't avoid considering the political concerns here. There's 4 options:

1. Federally mandate independent redistricting in every state at the same time
2. Implement redistricting commissions done as soon as possible in any state with no order
3. Implement redistricting commissions in a specific order
4. Leave everything as it is

The reality is option 2 is not the most fair (option 1 is) when you consider the status quo and that not every state has the opportunity to set up commissions but because no one is going to do option 1, we're going to have to rely on option 2/3 and the courts until it becomes so lopsided that everyone demands option 1. That's probably the only way for the Electoral College to die as well.

And the parties suck, I'd like to pass proportional representation alongside the federal redistricting law to allow multiple parties but that's even less likely than independent commissions in every state.

This country's electoral system is terrible.

I'm a bit puzzled by the part I've bolded. Most studies I have read would argue that moves to a true proportional system tend to strengthen partisanship over individual representation. Italy is sometimes cited as an example where proportional voting leads to voters ignoring the candidates in favor of the label after the name. Is that the direction you prefer?

On the other hand your goal seems to be multiple parties, which can be accomplished with FPTP systems such as in Canada. The need to form majority coalitions in the legislature tends to drive two of the parties to major positions in any system. The question is how to best provide for alternative views.



I've always been torn on the idea of proportional representation, myself. While it would be fairer in that a party that wins ten percent of the vote wins ten percent of the seats, I still like the idea of having "local" representatives representing districts. That's why I prefer mixed-member proportional or a hybrid such as this (I'd implement it differently, though).
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greenforest32
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« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2012, 09:33:43 am »
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You can't avoid considering the political concerns here. There's 4 options:

1. Federally mandate independent redistricting in every state at the same time
2. Implement redistricting commissions done as soon as possible in any state with no order
3. Implement redistricting commissions in a specific order
4. Leave everything as it is

The reality is option 2 is not the most fair (option 1 is) when you consider the status quo and that not every state has the opportunity to set up commissions but because no one is going to do option 1, we're going to have to rely on option 2/3 and the courts until it becomes so lopsided that everyone demands option 1. That's probably the only way for the Electoral College to die as well.

And the parties suck, I'd like to pass proportional representation alongside the federal redistricting law to allow multiple parties but that's even less likely than independent commissions in every state.

This country's electoral system is terrible.

I'm a bit puzzled by the part I've bolded. Most studies I have read would argue that moves to a true proportional system tend to strengthen partisanship over individual representation. Italy is sometimes cited as an example where proportional voting leads to voters ignoring the candidates in favor of the label after the name. Is that the direction you prefer?

On the other hand your goal seems to be multiple parties, which can be accomplished with FPTP systems such as in Canada. The need to form majority coalitions in the legislature tends to drive two of the parties to major positions in any system. The question is how to best provide for alternative views.

As far as I understand it most countries that use proportional representation still have districts via a hybrid system of districts for geographical representation + an at-large distribution of the popular vote for the remaining number of seats so that part of my comment was referring to that lower level of districts and my disdain for the U.S. Democratic/Republican parties.

And whether the system is focused on the individual representative or the party, I don't care too much. I'm more concerned about the issues and FPTP's disproportionate results between the popular vote and the seat distribution gets in the way.

A 10-15% swing (15% more seats than votes) is not uncommon in FPTP, add in some gerrymandering and it can be even worse.

Canada with FPTP:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_Canadian_federal_election,_2011#Vote_and_seat_summaries

« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 09:38:39 am by greenforest32 »Logged
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« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2012, 04:12:07 pm »
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As far as I understand it most countries that use proportional representation still have districts via a hybrid system of districts for geographical representation + an at-large distribution of the popular vote for the remaining number of seats so that part of my comment was referring to that lower level of districts and my disdain for the U.S. Democratic/Republican parties.

And whether the system is focused on the individual representative or the party, I don't care too much. I'm more concerned about the issues and FPTP's disproportionate results between the popular vote and the seat distribution gets in the way.

A 10-15% swing (15% more seats than votes) is not uncommon in FPTP, add in some gerrymandering and it can be even worse.

Canada with FPTP:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Results_of_the_Canadian_federal_election,_2011#Vote_and_seat_summaries



The swing is a predictable result of the statistics making selections based on districts. When a population is divided into districts and one selects one or more representatives from that district it is more probable that a representative from a larger segment of the population will be selected. Voting reflects the majority(s) within a district so those are enhanced.

This impacts the redistricting process as well. You are correct that gerrymandering can force the sing more than would happen naturally, but even without gerrymandering the swing will occur. For example in an evenly divided state like OH it is easy to implement rules for partisan balance to create a set of districts that reflects the political balance of that state as a whole. However in a state like MA it is nearly impossible to implement similar rules to get a split of districts that reflect the overall political leaning of the state simply due to the statistics of the majority.

This is also a problem in many states with minority populations large enough to support the creation of a district under the VRA. In some cases the population is too statistically spread to create a viable district to elect a minority candidate of choice except through extreme gerrymandering. Proportional representation for parties doesn't solve this either, since using a larger area (like the whole state) violates the VRA. The use of large multi-member districts in the south to elect a bunch of white Dems despite a significant black population was a reason the VRA was passed.
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greenforest32
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« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2012, 06:50:04 pm »
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The swing is a predictable result of the statistics making selections based on districts. When a population is divided into districts and one selects one or more representatives from that district it is more probable that a representative from a larger segment of the population will be selected. Voting reflects the majority(s) within a district so those are enhanced.

This impacts the redistricting process as well. You are correct that gerrymandering can force the sing more than would happen naturally, but even without gerrymandering the swing will occur. For example in an evenly divided state like OH it is easy to implement rules for partisan balance to create a set of districts that reflects the political balance of that state as a whole. However in a state like MA it is nearly impossible to implement similar rules to get a split of districts that reflect the overall political leaning of the state simply due to the statistics of the majority.

This is also a problem in many states with minority populations large enough to support the creation of a district under the VRA. In some cases the population is too statistically spread to create a viable district to elect a minority candidate of choice except through extreme gerrymandering. Proportional representation for parties doesn't solve this either, since using a larger area (like the whole state) violates the VRA. The use of large multi-member districts in the south to elect a bunch of white Dems despite a significant black population was a reason the VRA was passed.

Yeah the swing is to be expected because of the nature of district selections but is the sum of these district elections as fair or legitimate as an at-large election? The non-majority vote within those geographic districts is not represented which is not the case with a proportional system where, barring a usually 1-5% vote floor of no representation to avoid clutter or something, xx% of the vote = xx% of the seats.

There are systems out there that correct for the aforementioned swing via a proportional allocation of additional seats that have no geography which is something the U.S and Canadian systems do not have with or without gerrymandering. I think it's one of the many electoral reforms we should adopt in addition to barring legislators from drawing their own districts and it could be done as an update to the VRA if we have to remove any existing legal conflicts.

Quite frankly I wonder why even have geographic representation at all? Why not just have a single at-large election for every seat? Would legislators really ignore the needs of an area just because they don't individually geographically represent it? I suppose it would be confusing as to which representative you're supposed to write to but is that it?

As a (timely) example, a suburban city here in the area is currently debating a ballot initiative to switch the city council from an at-large model for the councilors to a divided geographic district model and the main complaint from proponents for changing it seems to be that all of the current councilors live in the same area. I could see how that bothers people but honestly if I lived there I would probably vote no on the change.
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« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2012, 08:41:12 pm »
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Quite frankly I wonder why even have geographic representation at all? Why not just have a single at-large election for every seat? Would legislators really ignore the needs of an area just because they don't individually geographically represent it? I suppose it would be confusing as to which representative you're supposed to write to but is that it?

As a (timely) example, a suburban city here in the area is currently debating a ballot initiative to switch the city council from an at-large model for the councilors to a divided geographic district model and the main complaint from proponents for changing it seems to be that all of the current councilors live in the same area. I could see how that bothers people but honestly if I lived there I would probably vote no on the change.

Your example is exactly the problem with an all at-large system. My experience with local communities is that in at-large systems areas without a representative do get overlooked. They represent a small part of the vote in a large jurisdiction so the representative caters to the base which is often their personal locale.
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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2012, 08:55:49 pm »
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Well even if it was a big deal on levels above city/county, that's a purely 100% proportional system which as far as I know is not used by any state or country?

The hybrid model most proportional representation (PR) countries use of local districts below an-large distribution to correct for the FPTP swing eliminates the problems of the non-represented minority vote in geographic districts and the overlooked geographic areas in pure PR systems.

Aren't there examples of pure FPTP extremes? Like the Chicago City Council where all 50 members are from the same party?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_City_Council
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 08:57:42 pm by greenforest32 »Logged
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