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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 02:11 PM

Moveon petition: End partisan gerrymandering instead use a jury system of citizens. Need 2000!

Last edited Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:49 PM - Edit history (1)

Next threshold is 2000 votes!

Just got this in my email and thought I'd pass it along for thoughts, comments and signatures and call to share, if you approve.


http://signon.org/sign/an-end-to-gerrymandering?source=mo&id=57727-9316713-jdVtcRx


An End to Gerrymandering

By Michael Barrett (Contact)

To be delivered to: The North Carolina State House, The North Carolina State Senate, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama
Petition Statement
We, the undersigned, call for legislation that would put an end to the practice of allowing political parties to choose voting districts. This legislation shall require states to form a politically balanced citizen's electoral jury that would decide the boundaries of voting districts based solely on population numbers.
Petition Background

Voters should select their representatives, not the other way around. The two political parties have made a complete mess of our electoral process by corrupting it at its foundation. In an effort to make elections more about which side has the better ideas and to reduce the political divide in our country, I propose that the power to create voting districts be taken away from whatever partisan faction is in control and that voting districts be created by a "jury" of citizens tasked with creating political voting districts with only raw population data, no voter registration information, to work with.



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Reply Moveon petition: End partisan gerrymandering instead use a jury system of citizens. Need 2000! (Original post)
nc4bo Nov 2012 OP
FBaggins Nov 2012 #1
Persondem Nov 2012 #2
Persondem Nov 2012 #3
nc4bo Nov 2012 #4
marions ghost Nov 2012 #5

Response to nc4bo (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 02:54 PM

1. Probably a mistake.

It's obviously something that Democrats in NC have stumbled upon recently (as we fell out of redistricting power for the first time in many decades - and felt the resultant pain)... but a completely impartial redistricting scheme tends to favor Republicans.

This is because Democrats are far more likely to live in super-majority clusters that dilute our electoral influence.

Take as a hypothetical example an inner city (population 100) that's heavily minority and votes 80-90% (we'll say 85%) for Democrats... surrounded by three suburbs (100 pop each) that are 55-45 Republican (largely white). How should district lines be drawn? The total population of the area is 220 Democrats and 180 Republicans... but the only way we avoid a 3-1 representative split against us is to draw districts with little fingers into the city center. You could even draw four Democratic districts (each largely suburban but with enough downtown population to give us the majority). But that's not the way that an impartial panel would draw the lines.

I propose that the power to create voting districts be taken away from whatever partisan faction is in control and that voting districts be created by a "jury" of citizens tasked with creating political voting districts with only raw population data, no voter registration information, to work with.

It sounds fair... but it would ruin us. There isn't an impartial jury in the world that would take my example above and do anything but draw a nice pretty circle around the downtown area and split the suburbs into three reasonably comfortable R seats.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:29 PM

2. You just might be exaggerating the negative

Hi,
I am the writer of the above mentioned petition. The scenario you outline is an extreme example and would not actually be possible with the guidelines for district creation that I would propose. Also, what you suggest is essentially the reality in North Carolina as we are 9/4 R/D now and will likely go 10/3 when McIntyre retires. It can't get any worse. In Texas I am told that Austin was split 4 ways to dilute the democratic vote which is the complete opposite of your scenario. My point there is that either way bad districts can be drawn.
My idea would be to have the districts drawn by having the committee start in a corner of the state and expand inward in as close to a uniform manner as possible until the district encompasses about 750k people. If a city is engulfed, so be it. If a city is split, then its influence would be strong in 2 districts, but it could not be diluted further as happened in Austin. The districts would approximate regular geometric shapes as much as possible.
Democrats would have a much better chance than they do now at a majority in the House - 1) Our ideas are better 2) Demographics favor social progressives 3) Our ever aging population favors Dems. Also, the House in general would become much more competitive and reps would have to pay more attention to both sides of the political spectrum resulting in more compromises and our national course following a more sensible middle road.
I do not think that ending gerrymandering would be the ruin of the Democratic Party, rather, if it continues, it just might ruin the United States.
Regards,
Mike

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Response to nc4bo (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 10:31 PM

3. Thank you for your support

Hi,
I really do appreciate your support for the "An end to Gerrymandering" petition. Nice to know that it is getting noticed.
Cheers,
Mike

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Response to Persondem (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 07:50 PM

4. YW. I hope it gets as many eyes as possible.

I've posted to facebook and tweeted, hopefully others will do the same.

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Response to nc4bo (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 12:26 PM

5. Interesting post--

I certainly think the system that allows gerrymandering should be reformed.

OTOH I'm not sure I understand the options & ramifications of proposed changes.

I like the idea of using raw population data--and districts would only be redrawn to accommodate major population change (say every ten years?)

I'm not well-versed enough to speculate further but one thing I know, the current system is unjust.

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