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  US House Redistricting: General (search mode)
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Author Topic: US House Redistricting: General  (Read 78289 times)
jimrtex
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« on: October 26, 2011, 09:45:33 pm »

Olver retires in MA. Does that make theirs fairly easy?

Makes possible a Boston to Pittsfield seat.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 04:30:57 pm »


I recently wrote the attached article for the Selous Foundation. It makes the often overlooked point that so-called "independent commissions" and the courts generally favor Democrats if you look at the results of the 2012 redistricting. In fact, these appointed officials (who are not directly responsible to voters like legislators) produced more than twice as many US House gains for Democrats as did the states controlled by Democrat legislators.
 
Unfortunately former NRCC Chairman and VA GOP Congressman Tom Davis has just joined with former Democrat Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (story is below) in a major effort to get these appointed commissions passed throughout the nation. So I am sure there will be a major move to get some in the GOP to support an "independent" redistricting commission. The California model commission Tauscher thinks is so wonderful caused the GOP to lose four more US House seats and produce a 38-15 overwhelmingly liberal congressional delegation. It also increased the huge lead the Democrats had in the State Senate and Assembly.    
 
Here is my latest article for the Selous Foundation which debunks the belief that appointed commissions and the courts are fair and independent in redistricting
I would appreciate your comments and suggestions
A bit hackish in style.

A problem with "independent" or "citizen" redistricting commissions is that they can be led by legal or other expert advisors. In California, a specific requirement for members was that they reflect the "diversity" of the state, and also be appreciative of that diversity. Torie was rejected because there were other candidates just as qualified, but not as fair-skinned. The commission was not subject to Proposition 209.

In Arizona, the party leaders in the legislature chose four members, who then chose the chairman from a list of five persons screened by a judicial selection committee who were "independent". One of the "independents" had a framed picture of her with Nancy Pelosi. Another was the head of the Arizona ACLU, who was said to make the Democratic Party seem like Barry Goldwater because they were so far to the right of him. Colleen Mathis was the least worst.

They decided to have a Republican and Democratic counsel. The two Democratic members and Mathis chose the Republican counsel on a 3:2 vote. As you noted, the mapping consultant had only done work for Democratic candidates. Moreover, they had never done redistricting work, but had specialized in targeting voters who would vote Democratic.

Because the redistricting commission was created under the constitution, it was not subject to the open-meeting requirements that other agencies were subject to. Mathis drew one map at her house over a weekend with the help of a mapping consultant.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2015, 08:44:30 pm »

Thanks I think those are all excellent points. What bothers me the most is the hypocrisy of many commission supporters and the plaintiffs in Florida (Common Cause, LWV). They act like they are the only ones with pure motives when in fact they have a political agenda to elect more Democrats. The media coverage has been terribly one sided.
There is actually less transparency in Florida redistricting due to the so called Fair Districts. The plaintiffs have presented countless maps in the congressional case but it is very difficult to find their maps in a kmz or doj file so you can really analyze them. The latest plaintiffs map that the Florida Supreme Court suggested the legislature use was produced by Democrat party consultants. None of the plaintiffs maps supporting a east-west minority congressional district from Tallahassee to Jacksonville are easily available in a kmz or doj format on the internet. They have in fact never been filed in the legislature's two sessions on congressional redistricting. As a result I have not been able to find their maps at the Florida redistricting committee websites so they have not been subjected to the intense public scrutiny that the legislature's maps have received. All the legislature's maps are at this website and can be seen down to the block level. You cant say that the plaintiffs have been as transparent. They dont even show what the political performance for every district is in the map they recently proposed. And I don't believe I or anyone else should have to wade through pages of legal briefs to find it.
If anyone can find a place on the Internet where I can find a doj file or kmz file for all the maps that the plaintiffs have proposed. please reply to my post. I am especially interested in the latest map which the Florida Supreme Court suggested that they use as a guide. I think that this information should be available to everyone not just a few lawyers, consultants and academics.
I think the LWV has been taken over by the Democrats, or perhaps they are guileless dupes.

In Britain, political parties are expected to make representations to the boundary commission. If they didn't few other persons would, since the average person doesn't really care. But the political parties have to frame their arguments in terms of something other than raw politics.

And even if the Florida litigants were to propose a map, they wouldn't be obligated to turn over all their communication that went into creating the plan.

Courts end up being the least transparent. The congressional plan drawn by the court in Texas, put the boundary of the central San Antonio district, TX-20, one block outside Joaquin Castro's house.  Immediately, Charlie Gonzales, the 7-term representative from TX-20 announced he was retiring (his father Henry Gonzales had served 19 terms before that). And Castro announced he was running in TX-20, rather than TX-35 that he had been running for.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 09:25:17 pm »

so far, are there any states that are forced to change congressional district maps from 2016-2018 based on court orders?

if so, which states?
I think the only state that is being litigated is Texas, and maybe Maryland.

North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida changed for 2016.

Alabama has changed its legislative districts for 2018, and special elections are being held on the new boundaries. North Carolina is finishing up its new districts to be used in 2018. Virginia's are still being litigated, but could change for 2019. Texas is still being litigated.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2017, 02:37:40 pm »

so far, are there any states that are forced to change congressional district maps from 2016-2018 based on court orders?

if so, which states?
I think the only state that is being litigated is Texas, and maybe Maryland.

North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida changed for 2016.

Alabama has changed its legislative districts for 2018, and special elections are being held on the new boundaries. North Carolina is finishing up its new districts to be used in 2018. Virginia's are still being litigated, but could change for 2019. Texas is still being litigated.

Isn't Alabama's state house map going to be re-litigated?

Probably not in time for 2018 though.
Not likely.

The oral arguments before the SCOTUS were interesting. One issue was whether the plaintiffs had filed against individual districts, as is required. The justices were arguing about whether they should be rewriting the briefs for the plaintiffs. The opinion actually has a concordance showing mentions of individual districts. Anyhow, the district court had ruled on the basis of the overall plan.

On remand, the district court was told to look at each individual district. So the court let the plaintiffs amend their complaint, and then they issued a very long opinion explaining whether each individual district had been gerrymandered - explaining whether split precincts were done so on a racial basis or not. What the issue in recent cases is whether race has predominated or not. A lot of the black-majority districts were 10-20% underpopulated. They had been deliberately underpopulated in 2000, and in rural areas particularly had lost population. The legislature had tried to maintain the black percentage, which is hard to do. If a district is 60% black, the neighboring areas are likely less than 60% black, so you have to be quite selective.

Eventually the district court ruled that in some districts, race had predominated. While the legislature was getting ready to fix those districts, the SCOTUS issued their decision in Bethune-Hill saying that the district court in that Virginia case had applied the wrong standard in determining racial predominance. Bethune-Hill was issued in March 2017. The Alabama legislature realized that if the district court applied the new standard to Alabama, they would likelu have to redraw all the black majority districts, so they did.

The district court approved the new map, which won't make material changes in the composition of the legislature. The plaintiffs tried to add some new complaints such a political gerrymandering, which the district court rejected. The case was closed about a month ago.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2017, 05:41:07 am »

If there were 5821 seats in the House, and DC + the 5 territories had full representation, the 2010 census gives this

Does that algorithm always produce the correct number of seats?
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jimrtex
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2018, 09:25:00 pm »

I just calculated this.

For the difference between the most populated district and the least populated district to go below a factor of 1.5, there would need to be at least 843 seats (843rd seat is DE-03).

It falls again at 930 seats (SD-03).

Another low at 1394 seats (MT-05).

Another low at 1588 seats (ND-04).

Finally goes below a factor of 1.25 at 1608 seats (RI-06).

Another new low at 1705 seats (VT-04).

Another new low at 1741 seats (ME-08).

Another new low at 1753 seats (NH-08).

Finally goes below a factor of 1.2 at 1941 seats (AK-05).

Another new low at 2075 seats (SD-06).

Another new low at 2226 seats (DE-07).

Another new low at 2260 seats (ID-12).

I do not feel like calculating any more.

The population of a state's districts is a stair step which steps down every time a state gains an additional district. The average population per district for the USA is a reciprocal function

POPUSA / n

If you combine the two to get a state's districts relative to the USA average you get a sawtooth within a decaying envelope. Just before a state gains a seat, the ratio of the state's districts to the USA average reaches a maximum, before plunging to a minimum when the extra seat is awarded, and then gradually increasing as the USA average declines.

The sawtooth is quasi-periodic. The period varies because of the ranking method results in a state gaining a district a bit too soon, or a bit late; and in addition the divisors for Huntington-Hill are not precisely evenly spaced.

Combining the sawtooth for all 50 states, you get a url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_(acoustics)]beating[/url] effect. Sometimes most states are near the USA average, and sometine, there might be one state near a maximum, and another near a minimum.

If one were interested in reducing the interstate variation in district size, a "best" size of the House might be chosen. To avoid too much variation, the search window could be limited to perhaps 95% to 110% of the previous apportionment. You don't want to reduce too much, since this would mean too many states losing representation, and you don't want to expand the size of the House too much.

If the metric were to maximize the number of districts within 5% of the USA average, the apportionment for 2020 might be 450 districts, with 404 (89.8%) within 5% variation. If we were interested in interstate equality, we would use Dean's method (harmonic mean) rather than Huntington-Hill (geometric mean).

All of these are extremely data dependent, since the period for each state is POPUSA / POPSTATE, and these ratios change over time.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2018, 08:44:53 am »
« Edited: January 09, 2018, 02:08:21 am by jimrtex »

Instead of apportioning representatives one could apportion presidential electors, with each state guaranteed three electors. And then the electors could be divided into 2 senators and the rest representatives. This would tend to increase the representation of larger states, and compensate for the underrepresentation of larger states in the senate.

These estimates  of representative are based on using Huntington-Hill and projected 2020 populations that are based on the last two years of change in the estimated population.

California would be apportioned 63 of 535 electors, giving them 61 representatives and two senators. 61 is 8 greater than the projected 53 of 435 representatives for the 2020 Census.

CA 61(53, +8)
TX 44(38, +6)
FL 32(29, +3)
NY 29(26, +3)
PA 18(17, +1)
IL 18(17, +1)
OH 16(15, +1)
GA 15(14, +1)
NC 14
MI 14(13, +1)
NJ 12
VA 11
WA 10
AZ 9(10, -1)
MA 9
TN 9
IN 9
MO 8
MD 8
WI 7(8, -1)
MN 7
SC 6((7, -1)
AL 6
LA (5, -1)
KY (5, -1)
OR(5, -1)
OK(4, -1)
CT(4, -1)
UT(3, -1)
IA(3, -1)
NV(3, -1)
AR(3, -1)
MS(3, -1)
KS(3, -1)
NM(1, -2)
NE(1, -2)
ID(1, -1)
WV(1, -1)
HI(1, -1)
NH(1, -1)
ME(1, -1)
MT(1, -1)
RI 1
DE 1
SD 1
ND 1
AK 1
VT 1
WY 1

Trump won the electoral vote 306:232, under the projected 2020 apportionment he would gain seven electors in 5 states (AZ, FL(2), NC, MT, TX(2)), while losing five electors in five states (AL, MI, OH, PA, WV) for a net gain of two. Clinton wold gain in two states (CO and OR), while losing in four states (IL, MN, NY, and RI) for a net loss of two.

This would produce a 308:230 in a 2024 match-up of Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton.

Under the presidential elector apportionment, Trump would gain 13 electors in six states (TX(6), FL(3), PA, OH, GA, and MI) and lose 16 electors in 15 states (AZ, WI, SC, LA, KY, OK, UT, IA, AR, MS, KS, NE(2), ID, WV, and MT) for a net loss of three. Clinton would gain 12 electors in three states (CA(Cool, NY(3), and IL) and lose nine electors in eight states (CO, OR, CT, NV, NM(2), HI, NH, and ME) for a net gain of three.

This would produce a 305:233 elector college result in a Trump:Clinton match-up.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2018, 02:09:24 am »

Instead of apportioning representatives one could apportion presidential electors, with each state guaranteed three electors. And then the electors could be divided into 2 senators and the rest representatives. This would tend to increase the representation of larger states, and compensate for the underrepresentation of larger states in the senate.

That's actually bloody brilliant; a fantastic idea. I support that reform! It's modest, even Republicans could get behind it (it benefits Trump in the EC after all).
I'm waiting for someone to draw the 44-district Texas map. I've already done fifteen states.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2018, 03:30:14 am »

Something of note, is that if NY-11 connected Staten Island to Queens instead of to Brooklyn, it could have a PVI at about D+04 or D+05 (tested this months ago, just posted it now so memory not perfect).
Richmond, Kings, and Rockland were in a district at one time.
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