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Long Beach Press Telegram: Analyzing redistricting

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:01 AM
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Long Beach Press Telegram: Analyzing redistricting
Article Last Updated: 9/28/2005 10:06 PM

Analyzing redistricting

Prop. 77 wouldn't greatly benefit either party.

Long Beach Press Telegram

One of the most succinct, accurate descriptions we've heard of California's gerrymandering problem is that elected officials are now choosing their voters, instead of voters choosing their elected officials.

That assessment is repeated, and confirmed, by a new study examining the probable outcome of Proposition 77, the redistricting reform measure on the Nov. 8 ballot. The study is useful because it is the first academic analysis of the proposition, and comes at a time when the measure is being framed by opponents as a Republican power grab.

The Rose Institute for State and Local Government study dismisses that notion as pure propaganda, and corrects it with solid estimates. Though no one can predict absolutely how a panel of judges would reshape political districts under Proposition 77, it's safe to make certain assumptions based on 77's core requirements: that districts must be drawn along logical geographic boundaries of counties and cities, and be as compact as possible.


Importantly, the study found that Proposition 77 wouldn't hand any more power to one party or another. It reports that the number of safe Democratic and Republican seats are likely to be reduced by about the same number (five each for Congress and state Assembly; four Democratic and three Republican seats in the state Senate). Most California districts have a natural partisan leaning, with more Democrats in coastal areas and more Republicans inland.


But the partisan calculations are beside the point. No political seat should be "safe" for one party or another.

And who would defend a system in which voters can be ignored? Only one group: the politicians who benefit from it.
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