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Mon Nov 19, 2012, 11:55 AM

 

Gerrymandering Defined

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Response to johnlennon_shallrise (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:16 PM

1. PA's12th District-cited as a most egregious example of partisan gerrymadering in the nation.

Pennsylvania's redistricting was totally controlled by the GOP controlled state house and senate. The 12th meanders from the Ohio border through Beaver, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Cambria and Somerset counties. On the other side of the state, the 7th Congressional District meanders from Delaware to Chester, Lancaster, Berks and Montgomery counties (drawn to protect Rep. Pat Meehan). The GOP held hearings without providing maps of the proposed districts, and the public was given not even 24 hours to question or complain once the maps were revealed.

But a much more egregious example of gerrymandering is Monroe County on the New Jersey border in northeast Pennsylvania.

In 1991, reports Potts, a consensus was building among residents in the fast-growing county for property tax reform due to the cost of building new schools.
http://voicesweb.org/2011-gerrymandering-maneuvers-begin

“The leadership in Harrisburg didn’t want to create a hotbed of people advocating what they didn’t want to do,” Potts explained. “So they sliced Monroe County up so no senator would have property tax as their top priority because most of their senatorial districts were in other counties where property tax reform wasn’t such an issue.”

Today, six state senators have constituents in Monroe County but none of the six live in Monroe County, and the legislature made Monroe County the only home county of a gambling casino that had to share its tax revenue with surrounding counties, costing Monroe County $6 million a year.

“The problem is none of our senators need Monroe County to be elected,” said Merlyn Clarke, professor emeritus at East Stroudsburg University and former political science department head, in a news story in the Pocono Record in February 2009.

The Record article quotes former State Rep. Kelly Lewis of Monroe County as saying, “The bill … destroyed school property tax reform…and the funding provision to share fifth-class county proceeds with contiguous counties is corruption personified.”

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Response to johnlennon_shallrise (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 12:46 PM

2. Politicians choosing voters instead of voters choosing representatives.

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Response to johnlennon_shallrise (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:08 PM

3. Question - Are there downsides for the Controlling Party (district manipulators) to Gerrymandering?

 

is there a scenario where they could get hurt badly? Because from what i see it seems Republicans will hold the house for decades.

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Response to boingboinh (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 03:20 PM

5. (bumped for an Answer)

 

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Response to boingboinh (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 06:42 PM

6. You can get to cute and end up getting swamped by a wave

The goal of gerrymandering is to get districts where you have enough majority to consistently win but not enough of a majority that you are wasting your voters. In theory 51 to 49 would do it but if you get a 51/49 district in say 10 but in 12 a different electorate shows up the 51/49 can become 51/49 the other way. In NC the GOP won 9 districts with majorities ranging from 52 to 46 up to 63 to 37. The Democrats won 4 districts one by a few hundred votes the other three 74 to 80 percent. This is text book gerrymandering. Where it could bite them on the butt is if we were to somehow increase our vote by 4 to 5% we could win some of those districts we lost with the GOP getting 52 or 53% of the vote. The problem here is that 2012 was likely a high water mark for us meaning there isn't much likelihood of it coming back to bite them in 14. The earliest we could see a wave election is 2016.

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Response to johnlennon_shallrise (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 01:31 PM

4. What would the results be if we included unopposed races? n/t

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Response to johnlennon_shallrise (Original post)

Mon Nov 19, 2012, 10:57 PM

7. It stuff like this that make me wish congress was elected more like a paraliment is

I wish in situations like this that congress was elected more like a parliament is. In most parliamentary systems you vote for the party, never the candidate (though you know who leads each party), and the percentage of the vote each party gets determines how many seats each party gets.

That makes it pretty much impossible to gerrymander, when you have to actually get the most votes to win control of 'congress', or in the case of more then 2 parties, get the most seats.

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Response to ShadowLiberal (Reply #7)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:23 AM

8. I am a proponent of this.

A proportional representative voting system would also allow for more parties as our first-past-the-post single representative district causes duverger's law. this would mean that your vote is never wasted if you select someone not in the two current parties.

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Response to johnlennon_shallrise (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:34 AM

9. This shows the next battle is re-districting

the republicans know they can't win on merits so they have to cheat, steal, harass and suppress the electorates to prevent being annihilated.

America is no a conservative country as some wants us to believe, it is a progressive country being destroyed by those who do not believe in progression.

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Response to johnlennon_shallrise (Original post)

Tue Nov 20, 2012, 11:55 AM

10. After voter suppression, this is the main way Republicans hold onto power.

 

Hopefully we can fix it after 2020 since that will be a presidential election year and Democrats may actully vote on the down ticket races to change state legislatures to Democratic Party control.

Next census is 2020 of course. 2010, the last census year, was also an off election year.

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