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  Applying Muon2 scheme for redistricting to Columbia County
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Torie
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« on: September 01, 2016, 11:14:44 am »

My overactive brain has come up with a new project. Now that the petition process has been perfected, my thought is to have a proposition placed on the ballot come the 2020 election (it needs to be done in a POTUS year to maximize the chances of success, since this is something the Dems want, and the Pubs do not), to dump Columbia County's crazed system, and replace it with a county legislature.

The body would have 23 seats, just like the current board of supervisors does (that high number is needed to give a good chance that at least one black will be elected from Hudson from a combo of wards 2 and 4 plus Crosswinds and a few bits from the 5th ward). My thought is to give Muon2's scheme a test drive, and provide in the law for his scheme for restricting, where a computer spits out the map doing the chop (this time for towns and cities, with maybe special rules for villages (Columbia county has 3 villages), giving them preference in keeping whole where a town chop is involved (the village of Chatham straddles two towns), erosity minimization thing, using federal, state and county highways as the sensitive roads to test for cuts. Does this make any sense at all?
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muon2
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2016, 08:20:55 pm »

I will add updating and putting a sticky on the Muon rules to my to do list. Smiley
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jimrtex
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2016, 09:44:15 am »

My overactive brain has come up with a new project. Now that the petition process has been perfected, my thought is to have a proposition placed on the ballot come the 2020 election (it needs to be done in a POTUS year to maximize the chances of success, since this is something the Dems want, and the Pubs do not), to dump Columbia County's crazed system, and replace it with a county legislature.

I assume you are familiar with MHR 10.1.a(13)(a)(iii)


The body would have 23 seats, just like the current board of supervisors does (that high number is needed to give a good chance that at least one black will be elected from Hudson from a combo of wards 2 and 4 plus Crosswinds and a few bits from the 5th ward). My thought is to give Muon2's scheme a test drive, and provide in the law for his scheme for restricting, where a computer spits out the map doing the chop (this time for towns and cities, with maybe special rules for villages (Columbia county has 3 villages), giving them preference in keeping whole where a town chop is involved (the village of Chatham straddles two towns), erosity minimization thing, using federal, state and county highways as the sensitive roads to test for cuts. Does this make any sense at all?
The initiative only applies to the creation of a county charter commission (MHR 33.6). You would have to petition for a charter commission, and then win a referendum. The BOS would create the charter commission, and then anything they would propose would be subject to referendum. It appears that BOS gets to choose how to constitute the charter commission.

A county may create a legislature under the MHR, but there is no initiative procedure.

A problem with a county legislature is that it eliminates dual mandates, where town and city supervisors are members of the county board of supervisors. Technically, city supervisors are city officials, but the city charter currently does not assign them any city duties. While it may be provided that county legislators may hold town and city offices, it would still require separate election.

Generally, county legislatures have reduced in size over the years. The simplest reform would be make legislative districts the same as town and cities, and continue to use weighted voting.

In 2017, there will be a periodic referendum (every 20 years) on whether to create a New York constitutional convention. You could vote for that in 2017, and be elected as a delegate in 2018, and institute universal initiative powers.

The MHR does not permit splitting towns with  less than 110% of the quota: With 23 members this would restrict splitting to: Copake, Livingston, Chatham, Greenport, Ghent, Claverack, Hudson, and Kinderhook.

With 23 members, no pairs of smaller towns may be placed in the same district, so they would all have to be individually combined with larger towns, resulting it extra chops. Livingston would be especially splintered.

The following regions would work (* indicates partial district in town).

Kinderhook*, Stuyvesant (4)
Chatham**, New Lebanon, Canaan (3)
Hudson*, Greenport**, Livingston****, Germantown, Clermont, Gallatin (7)
Copake*, Ancram (2)
Claverack**, Ghent**, Austerlitz, Hillsdale, Taghkanic (6)
Stockport (1)

With 19, it becomes a little easier, except Copake can't be split:

Kinderhook**, Stuyvesant, Ghent* (5)
Chatham*, New Lebanon (2)
Canaan, Austerlitz (1)
Greenport*, Stockport (2)
Hudson (2)
Hillsdale,Taghkanic (1)
Copake (1)
Gallatin, Ancram (1)
Claverack*, Livingston***, Germantown, Clermont (4)

At 17:

New Lebanon, Canaan, Kinderhook***, Chatham***, Stuyvesant, Ghent**, Stockport (7)
Hudson*, Greenport* (3)
Claverack*, Taghkanic (2)
Hillsdale, Austerlitz(1)
Copake(1)
Livingston(1)
Germantown, Clermont (1)
Gallatin, Ancram (1x underpopulated).

At 15:

Chatham(1)
New Lebanon, Canaan(1)
Stuyvesant, Kinderhook**, Ghent**, Austerlitz(4)
Hudson*, Greenport**x, Stockport(3)   Split of Greenport illegal under state law.
Claverack*, Hillsdale(2)
Copake(1)
Gallatin, Ancram, Taghkanic(1)
Livingston(1)
Germantown, Clermont (1)

At 13:

Stuyvesant, Kinderhook**, Chatham (3)
Ghent**, Austerlitz, Stockport (2)
New Lebanon, Canaan(1)
Claverack**, Hillsdale, Taghkanic(2)
Copake, Ancram(1)
Hudson*, Greenport (2)
Livingston, Gallatin(1)
Clermont, Germantown(1)

At 11:

Kinderhook**, Chatham, Stockport, Stuyvesant (3)
Ghent(1)
Claverack(1)
New Lebanon, Canaan, Austerlitz(1)
Hudson*, Greenport(2)
Livingston, Germantown(1)
Clermont, Gallatin, Ancram, Taghkanic(1)
Copake, Hillsdale(1)
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jimrtex
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2016, 04:34:06 pm »

My overactive brain has come up with a new project. Now that the petition process has been perfected, my thought is to have a proposition placed on the ballot come the 2020 election (it needs to be done in a POTUS year to maximize the chances of success, since this is something the Dems want, and the Pubs do not), to dump Columbia County's crazed system, and replace it with a county legislature.
You might want to look at Otsego County, which combines towns in districts, and divides the city of Oneonta, and then uses weighted voting for the 14 remaining districts.

So let's start with the the current 23-member BOS, and combine the smallest district if it is less than 60% of the average:

Hudson 1 => Hudson 3
Hudson 2 => Hudson 4
Taghkanic => Gallatin
Ancram => Gallatin,Taghkanic
Austerlitz => Canaan
Hudson 3,1 => Hudson 2,4
Hillsdale => Canaan,Austerlitz
Germantown => Clermont
Stuyvesant => Stockport
New Lebanon => Chatham
Hudson 5 => Hudson 2,3,4,1

This leaves 12 districts.

1. Kinderhook 13.5%
2. Chatham, New Lebanon 10.2%
3. Hudson 10.2%
4. Claverack 9.6%
5. Ghent 8.6%
6. Hillsdale, Canaan, Austerlitz 8.4%
7. Stockport, Sturveysant 7.7%
8. Gallatin, Ancram, Taghkanic 7.2%
9. Greenport 6.6%
10. Clermont, Germantown 6.2%
11. Livingston 5.8%
12. Copake 5.8%

Incidentally, when Otsego approved their weights based on the 2010 Census, they did two sets. One was based on the Oneonta wards as they existed then, and took immediate effect. The other was based on prospective wards for Oneonta, with the weights to take effect on January 1, 2016 when the supervisors from the modified Oneonta wards took office.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 02:57:51 pm »

My overactive brain has come up with a new project. Now that the petition process has been perfected, my thought is to have a proposition placed on the ballot come the 2020 election (it needs to be done in a POTUS year to maximize the chances of success, since this is something the Dems want, and the Pubs do not), to dump Columbia County's crazed system, and replace it with a county legislature.

The body would have 23 seats, just like the current board of supervisors does (that high number is needed to give a good chance that at least one black will be elected from Hudson from a combo of wards 2 and 4 plus Crosswinds and a few bits from the 5th ward). My thought is to give Muon2's scheme a test drive, and provide in the law for his scheme for restricting, where a computer spits out the map doing the chop (this time for towns and cities, with maybe special rules for villages (Columbia county has 3 villages), giving them preference in keeping whole where a town chop is involved (the village of Chatham straddles two towns), erosity minimization thing, using federal, state and county highways as the sensitive roads to test for cuts. Does this make any sense at all?

In Hamilton County, each member of the Board of Supervisors casts a number of votes equal to the town's population. There is even a song about the largest town.

Arietta        304 votes
Benson         192 votes
Hope town      403 votes
Indian Lake   1353 votes (click to hear about weighted vote)
Inlet          333 votes
Lake Pleasant  781 votes
Long Lake      711 votes
Morehouse       86 votes
Wells votes    674 votes

Reportedly, the voting weights were not updated from the 1960s until the 2000s, though the current votes are based on LATFOR adjusted number.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 02:38:26 am »

Has the Columbia County Board of Supervisors changed the voting weights?

Columbia County should adopt either:

(a) Delaware Plan, where each town is represented on the county board by its town supervisor with a weighted vote directly proportional to population divided by 10. Delaware has no cities, but that doesn't really matter. For purposes of county governance, cities are treated as town. The Hudson mayor could serve as the board member for Hudson.

(b) Saratoga Plan, where the largest entities, Saratoga Spring city, and Clifton Park town have two supervisors. Mechanicsville city has one supervisor. An equivalent plan in Columbia County could give two supervisors to large town of Kinderhook, and the lesser city of Hudson.

Note that home rule powers for counties are derivative from the state constitution, and thus do not require a county either to adopt a plan of government under the MHR law, or adopt the statutory county BOS form.
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Torie
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 09:13:50 am »
« Edited: January 23, 2018, 09:17:58 am by Torie »

I am aware of the byzantine procedural rules.

I did draw a map. I don't have a census block map for the county (just a voting district map), so the lines are approximate as to where the chops lie in the town of Kinderhook and Taghkanic.

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jimrtex
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 11:43:59 pm »

I am aware of the byzantine procedural rules.

I did draw a map. I don't have a census block map for the county (just a voting district map), so the lines are approximate as to where the chops lie in the town of Kinderhook and Taghkanic.


There is no need to chop Taghkanic.

You have created a government that is independent of the towns, which might be fine if you wanted to subordinate the towns (and city), which might actually be fine. This could transform the Common Council into being more like a HOA, leaving substantive governance at the county level. Nothing inherently wrong with this model, it is a matter of political philosophy.

Currently, the board of supervisors is made up the heads of the town governments. Town supervisors serve on the board in an ex officio capacity. They represent their town (government) as much as they do the town voters. The supervisors from Hudson are an aberration.

I don't think you answered my question.
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Torie
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 08:00:44 am »

I don't know if the voting weights have been changed. There is a lacunae in the law about that potentially down the road, but I will leave you to figure out what that might be.

How do you avoid chopping Taghkanic, without chopping somewhere else? That would interest me.
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muon2
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 10:47:21 am »

I am aware of the byzantine procedural rules.

I did draw a map. I don't have a census block map for the county (just a voting district map), so the lines are approximate as to where the chops lie in the town of Kinderhook and Taghkanic.



If I assume a 5% max deviation to get to a 10% range, Ghent is too small to be a district on its own (-6.8%) but Claverack is just barely the right size for a district (+4.97%). I presume that you've compensated for Ghent elsewhere, but why not make Claverack whole instead?

With Claverack whole, the Greenport district would pull about 1000 from Hudson and 600 from Livingston. Ancram, Gallatin and Taghkanic would pull about 1200 from Livingston. That leaves the rest of Livingston with Germantown and Clermont. It's the same chop count in the south but removes the ugly connection (IMO) between Clermont and Gallatin.

In the north you would have to add a chop to bring Ghent up at least 46 people to get the range within 10%. OTOH you could probably make a case of a compelling state interest to accept that extra deviation for a range of 10.79% to keep Ghent whole as a district.
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Torie
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 11:32:36 am »

I am aware of the byzantine procedural rules.

I did draw a map. I don't have a census block map for the county (just a voting district map), so the lines are approximate as to where the chops lie in the town of Kinderhook and Taghkanic.



If I assume a 5% max deviation to get to a 10% range, Ghent is too small to be a district on its own (-6.8%) but Claverack is just barely the right size for a district (+4.97%). I presume that you've compensated for Ghent elsewhere, but why not make Claverack whole instead?

With Claverack whole, the Greenport district would pull about 1000 from Hudson and 600 from Livingston. Ancram, Gallatin and Taghkanic would pull about 1200 from Livingston. That leaves the rest of Livingston with Germantown and Clermont. It's the same chop count in the south but removes the ugly connection (IMO) between Clermont and Gallatin.

In the north you would have to add a chop to bring Ghent up at least 46 people to get the range within 10%. OTOH you could probably make a case of a compelling state interest to accept that extra deviation for a range of 10.79% to keep Ghent whole as a district.

I interpret the law that the deviation cannot be more than 10%. The deviation is less than 10%, because the most populated district is about 2% over the quota or something like that. You interpret the federal law as requiring no more than a 5% deviation for each district from the quota amount? The state law does not have such a 5% requirement as I recall.

I give a pass for the ugly connection in the south, given the ugly shape of Clermont. But I will try out your map.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 11:57:22 am »

I don't know if the voting weights have been changed. There is a lacunae in the law about that potentially down the road, but I will leave you to figure out what that might be.

How do you avoid chopping Taghkanic, without chopping somewhere else? That would interest me.
It violates MHR to divide a town with less than 110% of a quota. In an 11-district plan, this prevents splitting of all but Hudson and Kinderhook.

Taghkanic is placed with the adjacent district with the smallest population.
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Torie
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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 12:20:13 pm »

I don't know if the voting weights have been changed. There is a lacunae in the law about that potentially down the road, but I will leave you to figure out what that might be.

How do you avoid chopping Taghkanic, without chopping somewhere else? That would interest me.
It violates MHR to divide a town with less than 110% of a quota. In an 11-district plan, this prevents splitting of all but Hudson and Kinderhook.

Taghkanic is placed with the adjacent district with the smallest population.

Even if that causes a violation of the 10% deviation rule?  The 110% quota rule trumps the 10% deviation rule, when the two conflict?
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jimrtex
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« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 12:22:46 pm »

I am aware of the byzantine procedural rules.

I did draw a map. I don't have a census block map for the county (just a voting district map), so the lines are approximate as to where the chops lie in the town of Kinderhook and Taghkanic.



If I assume a 5% max deviation to get to a 10% range, Ghent is too small to be a district on its own (-6.8%) but Claverack is just barely the right size for a district (+4.97%). I presume that you've compensated for Ghent elsewhere, but why not make Claverack whole instead?

With Claverack whole, the Greenport district would pull about 1000 from Hudson and 600 from Livingston. Ancram, Gallatin and Taghkanic would pull about 1200 from Livingston. That leaves the rest of Livingston with Germantown and Clermont. It's the same chop count in the south but removes the ugly connection (IMO) between Clermont and Gallatin.

In the north you would have to add a chop to bring Ghent up at least 46 people to get the range within 10%. OTOH you could probably make a case of a compelling state interest to accept that extra deviation for a range of 10.79% to keep Ghent whole as a district.
State law says you can't chop a town with more than 110% of a quota. For an 11-district plan you can only divide Kinderhook and Hudson.

BTW, make sure you use the prison-adjusted population.

What is the compelling county interest in abandoning the Board of Supervisors model?
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jimrtex
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 12:55:39 pm »

I don't know if the voting weights have been changed. There is a lacunae in the law about that potentially down the road, but I will leave you to figure out what that might be.

How do you avoid chopping Taghkanic, without chopping somewhere else? That would interest me.
It violates MHR to divide a town with less than 110% of a quota. In an 11-district plan, this prevents splitting of all but Hudson and Kinderhook.

Taghkanic is placed with the adjacent district with the smallest population.

Even if that causes a violation of the 10% deviation rule?  The 110% quota rule trumps the 10% deviation rule, when the two conflict?
Have you ever looked at the population deviation of Vermont house districts?

The 10% rule is a burden shifting rule. It's basically like if you beat someone within 9.9% of their life that a court would presume it was attempted murder, and you would have to prove that was not your intent. If you only beat someone within 10.1% of their life, the prosecution would have to prove intent.
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muon2
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 12:58:01 pm »

Here's what SCOTUS said about the 10% rule in Brown v Thomson (1983) [citations redacted]:

Quote
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In Brown SCOTUS upheld the WY legislative plan with an 89% range (one district was at 40% of the quota). They found that the WY Constitution provided that counties each have at least one representative, and this had been applied since statehood "free from any taint of arbitrariness or discrimination."

In Quilter v Voinovich (1994) the district court initially threw out an OH plan with a range of 13.81%  for House districts and 10.54% for Senate districts based on constitutional rules requiring certain districts of up to 10% deviation that consisted of a single county. SCOTUS remanded the case back to lower court with instructions to consider the Brown decision. The lower court reversed itself and upheld the OH plan.
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jimrtex
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« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 12:58:25 pm »

I don't know if the voting weights have been changed. There is a lacunae in the law about that potentially down the road, but I will leave you to figure out what that might be.
The supervisors from Hudson were not lawfully elected?
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muon2
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« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 01:18:40 pm »

If jimrtex's reading of statute is correct, it would imply that Taghkanic would be wholly with Ancram, Clermont and Gallatin. Then the range of the plan overall would be 19.4%. Are there any federal cases that have tested the ranges produced by application of this 110% rule for chop thresholds?
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jimrtex
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« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2018, 09:49:16 pm »

If jimrtex's reading of statute is correct, it would imply that Taghkanic would be wholly with Ancram, Clermont and Gallatin. Then the range of the plan overall would be 19.4%. Are there any federal cases that have tested the ranges produced by application of this 110% rule for chop thresholds?
Someone has to be from a district that is overpopulated to have standing.

Nobody from Claverack is going to sue. Nobody from the Kinderhook area is going to sue to produce even finer chops. No one from Taghkanic, the least populated town in the county, albeit larger than any Hudson ward, is going to sue in order to be divided.
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Torie
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« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2018, 08:38:39 am »
« Edited: January 25, 2018, 04:11:11 pm by Torie »

Number 13 in section 10 of the MHRL sets forth the rule to which Jimrtex refers. I have seen in the weighted vote cases courts allow deviations of up to about 20%.

Morris cites earlier SCOTUS cases on the subject, including Connor. Connor distinguishes a fact pattern there that had in excess of a 10% deviation (16.5%) as not justified, because it was unlike the facts in Mahan, where there was uncontradicted evidence that the legislature's plan (which had a 16.4% deviation), "produces the minimum deviation above and below the norm, keeping intact political boundaries.'" Id., at 326. By contrast, the plaintiffs in this case submitted to the District Court an alternative Senate plan that served the state policy against fragmenting county boundaries better than did the plan the court ultimately adopted, and also came closer to achieving districts that are "as nearly of equal population as is practicable."

Here we have the same fact pattern as in Mahan. Mahan is our "spotted horse" case. I conclude from all of this, that particularly given the requirements of state law, which define the rules of the road for keeping municipalities together, a policy that SCOTUS endorses if the minimum deviation is achieved to hew to such policy (at least up to 16.4%), that the map must have a deep enough chop into Hudson by Greenport, to equalize the population between the two districts, without Greenport chopping into Claverack (each district having about 92% of the quota)), and that Taghkanic must be joined with the southern towns, if the population deviation does not exceed 20%. So we are good to go if the deviation is 19.4% as Muon2 suggests.  I think a federal court would be very sympathetic, given that the proposed deviation is in fact the only way to comport with state law, at least where the deviation does not exceed 20%. Anything over 20% would substantially increase the legal risk however.

After the next census, there might be more risk, since Hudson is losing population faster than the county (and perhaps Hudson and Greenport collectively losing population faster than the county even after taking into account the 95 person increase in Greenport through 2016 as Hudson expels residents to accommodate the rapid spread of Airbnb's here, there and everywhere in the city, particularly in the last two years (I tend to think Robinson Street from the combination of Airbnb's popping and gentrification might have lost close to half its population since 2010), which might push the deviation over 20%.

Addendum:  On a prisoner adjusted basis, the deviation is 21.57% for such a map, so now the answer is less easy. On page 1063 of this law review article is a statement that courts have allowed deviations over 20%.

I got the case cites read to me over the phone by the reference desk librarian at the state library in Albany, and one of them, Gorin v Karpan, makes for instructive reading. It revisits Wyoming redistricting a decade later, and it makes clear that Brown v. Thomson, is a very weird case that cannot be relied upon for much of anything, in particular that a deviation of 89%, rather than being possibly legal, is more akin to  legal suicide (the case has become, as they say, a mere vagrant on the waters of the law). From Gorin, here is the money paragraph:

"As mentioned, the Mahan Court warned that a 16.4% deviation "may well approach tolerable limits...." 410 U.S. at 329, 93 S.Ct. at 987. The Morris Court acknowledged that "no case of ours has indicated that a deviation of some 78% could ever be justified." 489 U.S. at 702, 109 S.Ct. at 1442. Furthermore, in Gaffney, 412 U.S. at 744, 93 S.Ct. at 2326, the Court found that a review of Supreme Court reapportionment cases made it "apparent that the larger variations from substantial equality are too great to be justified by any state interest so far suggested" (referring to Swann, (25.65%); Kilgarlin, (26.48%);[13] and Whitcomb v. Chavis, 403 U.S. 124, 91 S. Ct. 1858, 29 L. Ed. 2d 363 (1971), (24.78%)[14])."
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jimrtex
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« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2018, 02:49:51 pm »

Number 13 in section 10 of the MHRL sets forth the rule to which Jimrtex refers. I have seen in the weighted vote cases courts allow deviations of up to about 20%.

Morris cites earlier SCOTUS cases on the subject, including Connor. Connor distinguishes a fact pattern there that had in excess of a 10% deviation (16.5%) as not justified, because it was unlike the facts in Mahan, where there was uncontradicted evidence that the legislature's plan (which had a 16.4% deviation), "produces the minimum deviation above and below the norm, keeping intact political boundaries.'" Id., at 326. By contrast, the plaintiffs in this case submitted to the District Court an alternative Senate plan that served the state policy against fragmenting county boundaries better than did the plan the court ultimately adopted, and also came closer to achieving districts that are "as nearly of equal population as is practicable."

Here we have the same fact pattern as in Mahan. Mahan is our "spotted horse" case. I conclude from all of this, that particularly given the requirements of state law, which define the rules of the road for keeping municipalities together, a policy that SCOTUS endorses if the minimum deviation is achieved to hew to such policy (at least up to 16.4%), that the map must have a deep enough chop into Hudson by Greenport, to equalize the population between the two districts, without Greenport chopping into Claverack (each district having about 92% of the quota)), and that Taghkanic must be joined with the southern towns, if the population deviation does not exceed 20%. So we are good to go if the deviation is 19.4% as Muon2 suggests.  I think a federal court would be very sympathetic, given that the proposed deviation is in fact the only way to comport with state law, at least where the deviation does not exceed 20%. Anything over 20% would substantially increase the legal risk however.

After the next census, there might be more risk, since Hudson is losing population faster than the county (and perhaps Hudson and Greenport collectively losing population faster than the county even after taking into account the 95 person increase in Greenport through 2016 as Hudson expels residents to accommodate the rapid spread of Airbnb's here, there and everywhere in the city, particularly in the last two years (I tend to think Robinson Street from the combination of Airbnb's popping and gentrification might have lost close to half its population since 2010), which might push the deviation over 20%.

Addendum:  On a prisoner adjusted basis, the deviation is 21.57% for such a map, so now the answer is less easy. On page 1063 of this law review article is a statement that courts have allowed deviations over 20%.

The deviation range for the Vermont House is 19%. It would be worse if they went universally to single-member districts.

You can use weighted voting with legislative districts. In your map, eliminate the divisions of Hudson and Kinderhook and you're done. You could even put Taghkanic with Claverack, or simply let Taghkanic residents choose their district. Or simply start out with the 19 towns and eliminate one at a time, and let the residents attach themselves to another district.

But you have not addressed the fundamental question of why?

The town supervisors are not paid by Columbia County. They serve on the Board of Supervisors by virtue of their election as town supervisors. If you switch to a county legislature, you have to also provide for election. Town supervisors are elected to different terms, and at different times. While a town supervisor may be permitted to serve as a legislator, they have to run in two elections.

The only real problem with the current system is the five supervisors from Hudson, all of which have fewer persons than Taghkanic, the smallest town, and I have explained how to eliminate that problem.
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« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2018, 04:07:39 pm »
« Edited: January 25, 2018, 04:17:01 pm by Torie »

Number 13 in section 10 of the MHRL sets forth the rule to which Jimrtex refers. I have seen in the weighted vote cases courts allow deviations of up to about 20%.

Morris cites earlier SCOTUS cases on the subject, including Connor. Connor distinguishes a fact pattern there that had in excess of a 10% deviation (16.5%) as not justified, because it was unlike the facts in Mahan, where there was uncontradicted evidence that the legislature's plan (which had a 16.4% deviation), "produces the minimum deviation above and below the norm, keeping intact political boundaries.'" Id., at 326. By contrast, the plaintiffs in this case submitted to the District Court an alternative Senate plan that served the state policy against fragmenting county boundaries better than did the plan the court ultimately adopted, and also came closer to achieving districts that are "as nearly of equal population as is practicable."

Here we have the same fact pattern as in Mahan. Mahan is our "spotted horse" case. I conclude from all of this, that particularly given the requirements of state law, which define the rules of the road for keeping municipalities together, a policy that SCOTUS endorses if the minimum deviation is achieved to hew to such policy (at least up to 16.4%), that the map must have a deep enough chop into Hudson by Greenport, to equalize the population between the two districts, without Greenport chopping into Claverack (each district having about 92% of the quota)), and that Taghkanic must be joined with the southern towns, if the population deviation does not exceed 20%. So we are good to go if the deviation is 19.4% as Muon2 suggests.  I think a federal court would be very sympathetic, given that the proposed deviation is in fact the only way to comport with state law, at least where the deviation does not exceed 20%. Anything over 20% would substantially increase the legal risk however.

After the next census, there might be more risk, since Hudson is losing population faster than the county (and perhaps Hudson and Greenport collectively losing population faster than the county even after taking into account the 95 person increase in Greenport through 2016 as Hudson expels residents to accommodate the rapid spread of Airbnb's here, there and everywhere in the city, particularly in the last two years (I tend to think Robinson Street from the combination of Airbnb's popping and gentrification might have lost close to half its population since 2010), which might push the deviation over 20%.

Addendum:  On a prisoner adjusted basis, the deviation is 21.57% for such a map, so now the answer is less easy. On page 1063 of this law review article is a statement that courts have allowed deviations over 20%.

The deviation range for the Vermont House is 19%. It would be worse if they went universally to single-member districts.

You can use weighted voting with legislative districts. In your map, eliminate the divisions of Hudson and Kinderhook and you're done. You could even put Taghkanic with Claverack, or simply let Taghkanic residents choose their district. Or simply start out with the 19 towns and eliminate one at a time, and let the residents attach themselves to another district.

But you have not addressed the fundamental question of why?

The town supervisors are not paid by Columbia County. They serve on the Board of Supervisors by virtue of their election as town supervisors. If you switch to a county legislature, you have to also provide for election. Town supervisors are elected to different terms, and at different times. While a town supervisor may be permitted to serve as a legislator, they have to run in two elections.

The only real problem with the current system is the five supervisors from Hudson, all of which have fewer persons than Taghkanic, the smallest town, and I have explained how to eliminate that problem.

Because the gold standard is one person districts with each representative having one vote. Anything else is worse than watered down beer. That is my opinion, and I am not changing it. I know you disagree. That is fine. The Columbia County system has a host of flaws, including inter alia a merging of the executive and legislative branches, and its governance works poorly and opaquely.  It is mostly a visionless patronage machine (almost all high ranking county employees are Pubs, while the employee peons are squeezed for contributions and their time to work on campaigns) - a celebration of Balkanized parochialism, largely devoid of long term planning and focus. It must go, and eventually will go when the time is right. My work in this part of the world has just begun. There is much left to do.

I assume the Vermont plan was not legally challenged as to the 19% figure.
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« Reply #22 on: January 25, 2018, 05:04:49 pm »
« Edited: January 25, 2018, 05:20:37 pm by Torie »

I am aware of the byzantine procedural rules.

I did draw a map. I don't have a census block map for the county (just a voting district map), so the lines are approximate as to where the chops lie in the town of Kinderhook and Taghkanic.



If I assume a 5% max deviation to get to a 10% range, Ghent is too small to be a district on its own (-6.8%) but Claverack is just barely the right size for a district (+4.97%). I presume that you've compensated for Ghent elsewhere, but why not make Claverack whole instead?

With Claverack whole, the Greenport district would pull about 1000 from Hudson and 600 from Livingston. Ancram, Gallatin and Taghkanic would pull about 1200 from Livingston. That leaves the rest of Livingston with Germantown and Clermont. It's the same chop count in the south but removes the ugly connection (IMO) between Clermont and Gallatin.

In the north you would have to add a chop to bring Ghent up at least 46 people to get the range within 10%. OTOH you could probably make a case of a compelling state interest to accept that extra deviation for a range of 10.79% to keep Ghent whole as a district.

You really think try-chopping Livingston is a good idea? That seems like a pretty big dump on Livingston.
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« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2018, 10:40:00 pm »


The deviation range for the Vermont House is 19%. It would be worse if they went universally to single-member districts.

You can use weighted voting with legislative districts. In your map, eliminate the divisions of Hudson and Kinderhook and you're done. You could even put Taghkanic with Claverack, or simply let Taghkanic residents choose their district. Or simply start out with the 19 towns and eliminate one at a time, and let the residents attach themselves to another district.

But you have not addressed the fundamental question of why?

The town supervisors are not paid by Columbia County. They serve on the Board of Supervisors by virtue of their election as town supervisors. If you switch to a county legislature, you have to also provide for election. Town supervisors are elected to different terms, and at different times. While a town supervisor may be permitted to serve as a legislator, they have to run in two elections.

The only real problem with the current system is the five supervisors from Hudson, all of which have fewer persons than Taghkanic, the smallest town, and I have explained how to eliminate that problem.

Because the gold standard is one person districts with each representative having one vote. Anything else is worse than watered down beer. That is my opinion, and I am not changing it. I know you disagree. That is fine. The Columbia County system has a host of flaws, including inter alia a merging of the executive and legislative branches, and its governance works poorly and opaquely.  It is mostly a visionless patronage machine (almost all high ranking county employees are Pubs, while the employee peons are squeezed for contributions and their time to work on campaigns) - a celebration of Balkanized parochialism, largely devoid of long term planning and focus. It must go, and eventually will go when the time is right. My work in this part of the world has just begun. There is much left to do.

I assume the Vermont plan was not legally challenged as to the 19% figure.

You are worshiping a false god. Gold is not even the standard for the monetary system, and you apparently believe that the alcohol content of all beers must be equal. By dividing tiny Taghkanic you are denying its residents identity and adulterating their representation. You might as well extirpate Hudson's city charter and incorporate it into the town of Greenport. In your vision of equality as sameness, you would apparently replicate Soviet-bloc-style housing (e.g. Bliss Tower) across a rigid grid block street pattern that is totally alien to New England. Gold has utility for scientific and industrial uses, and is used for trinkets and gewgaws but has no intrinsic value.

You don't believe that New York state government is not corrupt because it has a separate executive and legislature, do you?
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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2018, 09:12:21 am »
« Edited: January 26, 2018, 09:26:34 am by Torie »

Well in other news, when a county adopts a charter, the charter dictates the rules of the road for districting, and not the MHRL.  In Ulster County, counsel opined that the charter had not referenced the 110% rule, so it did not apply. So assuming Columbia County were not so foolish as to get anywhere near adopting the silly and undoable 110% rule, one can chop any town one wants. Pity I spent a good part of yesterday reading all the cases on population disparities, but I least I think I know the law on that topic now. The good news is contained in  this document. I screen shot the page setting forth this conclusion. The county also need not exclude the prisoner population, and Ulster County in fact counted them, to avoid delays I think. That lacunae pops up elsewhere in the document.

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