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Redistricting for the US House and the US state legislatures

Tigers!

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How exactly do these mid-term elections work? Are both Houses affected or just one? How many seats are up for grabs? How might a change in the numbers affect the current gun debate and perhaps get changes made?
 

lpetrich

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How exactly do these mid-term elections work? Are both Houses affected or just one? How many seats are up for grabs? How might a change in the numbers affect the current gun debate and perhaps get changes made?
Midterms = middle of a President's term.
OfficeTerm lengthElection years
President44n
House22n
Senate Class I66n+2
Senate Class II66n+4
Senate Class III66n

Each state has two Senators, randomly assigned to two out of the three classes when the state was admitted, with the constraint that the classes have close to equal size.

All of the House is elected in Presidential election years and midterm years, and 1/3 of the Senate is elected in both kinds of year.

The years in between are "off years", and no Federal election takes place in them, though some local and state elections take place in them.
 

Tigers!

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Sounds like how our Senate is usually elected 1/2 at each election.
Do the numbers to be elected allow fro the possibility of getting some gun control changes possibly made?
 

Derec

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Sounds like how our Senate is usually elected 1/2 at each election.
1/3 each election.

Do the numbers to be elected allow fro the possibility of getting some gun control changes possibly made?

Very unlikely. Dems might win a net seat or two, but they would need to kill the filibuster to be able to pass legislation without some Republican votes. Also, there is a good chance Dems will lose the House. Their margin of majority is very thin as it is.
 

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Supreme Court blocks order to create two Black congressional districts in Louisiana | Elections | theadvocate.com
The congressional district map approved by the Louisiana Legislature in February will stand for the November elections, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delayed a federal judge's order for a new map with two majority-Black districts, instead of one.

In a one-page order, the high court stayed the federal lawsuit filed by minority voters in Louisiana until after the justices decide a similar challenge in Alabama. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — who generally adopt liberal positions on the Supreme Court — opposed the majority’s decision.

The congressional elections scheduled for November will use the maps approved by the Republican-majority Legislature, which also overrode Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of those maps.

What Redistricting Looks Like In Every State | FiveThirtyEight
  • New: DD 142, D 45, C 40, R 39, RR 169 -- D 187, C 40, R 208
  • Old: DD 148, D 33, C 46, R 52, RR 156 -- D 181, C 46, R 208
Although Republicans went into the cycle with control over drawing more districts, the number of Democratic-leaning seats actually increased as a result of redistricting. The new maps have six more Democratic-leaning seats than the old ones and the same number of Republican-leaning seats. This is due to aggressive map-drawing by Democrats in states such as Illinois as well as court decisions overturning Republican gerrymanders in states like North Carolina.

After accounting for incumbency, however, Republicans are actually the ones who have gained ground from redistricting: The GOP is positioned for a net gain of three to four seats in 2022 just thanks to the new lines alone. Republicans have benefited from their own brazen cartography in states like Florida and courts striking down Democratic gerrymanders in Maryland and New York. Republicans have also shored up their existing position by converting light-red districts into safer seats in states like Texas.
 

Derec

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I do not know how creating districts based upon colour will help stop gerrymandering of districts?
It is basically gerrymandering the other way.

I do not know whether having one or two "majority minority" districts in Louisiana is "more just".
I think the whole enterprise is perverse. The election in most districts is decided before even one vote was cast, just by the way the district maps are drawn.

It is all the more reason to get away from the medieval idea of single member districts.
 

Tigers!

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I do not know how creating districts based upon colour will help stop gerrymandering of districts?
It is basically gerrymandering the other way.

I do not know whether having one or two "majority minority" districts in Louisiana is "more just".
I think the whole enterprise is perverse. The election in most districts is decided before even one vote was cast, just by the way the district maps are drawn.
Or base districts purely upon the number of electors or population i.e. N persons +/ %N.
Harder to gerrymander that and objectively fairer as based upon no characteristics of a voter except their existence.
It is all the more reason to get away from the medieval idea of single member districts.
Why is it mediaeval?
PR does not solve all problems
 

Jimmy Higgins

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With computers, we can redistrict quite fairly. Instead, with computers, we are doing much the opposite. And post 2010, the Dems are well in the game in 2020, except the state we could take the most advantage of it. But overall, the GOP really don't care what they look like.
I do not know how creating districts based upon colour will help stop gerrymandering of districts?
It is basically gerrymandering the other way.
As long as we ignore history, yes. The trouble is, if you have a large minority population in a state like Alabama, it is possible to have a pro-segregation Government by making certain each of the districts had an equal ratio of white to blacks. On its face, it looks completely fair. But in application, it was used to treat African Americans as second class citizens. So we end up with what we need to ensure that doesn't happen.
 

bilby

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I do not know how creating districts based upon colour will help stop gerrymandering of districts?
It is basically gerrymandering the other way.

I do not know whether having one or two "majority minority" districts in Louisiana is "more just".
I think the whole enterprise is perverse. The election in most districts is decided before even one vote was cast, just by the way the district maps are drawn.
Or base districts purely upon the number of electors or population i.e. N persons +/ %N.
Harder to gerrymander that and objectively fairer as based upon no characteristics of a voter except their existence.
It is all the more reason to get away from the medieval idea of single member districts.
Why is it mediaeval?
PR does not solve all problems
Single member districts’ sole benefit is that they minimise the transportation and communication requirements for both voters and representatives.

Hence medieval - travelling further than you can walk is neither difficult nor necessary today in order to speak to your representative, nor in in order for them to participate in parliamentary business.

PR certainly doesn’t solve all problems; But it certainly solves some; it’s also not the only alternative to single member districts.
 

Jarhyn

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Just to reiterate, Gerrymandering is the act of:

Assigning members of the majority to whole districts until the residue of assignment puts the population majority into a minority within the residue, and then assigns the remaining winner-take-all districts proportional to the residue.

60% majority in 10 districts of 100 people? District 1 gets 10 majority. (Residue 50 maj 40 min) District 2 gets 10 majority (residue 40 maj to 40 min). District 3 gets 10 majority (residue 30 maj 40 min). The remaining 7 districts 3 majority, 4 minority.

Minority controls 7 of 10 districts with 40%.

By requiring more majority black districts, the court requires the population of voters to be less "concentrated".

As a result the minority vote also gets less capable of being concentrated for the remainder of districts. You MIGHT still be able to engineer 6 districts if you required more dem districts, but depending on the mechanics and scale of the real world example, you might be stuck going down to 5, just because of how it balances out when you can't "deplete the majority from the residue" as effectively.
 

Tigers!

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Just to reiterate, Gerrymandering is the act of:

Assigning members of the majority to whole districts until the residue of assignment puts the population majority into a minority within the residue, and then assigns the remaining winner-take-all districts proportional to the residue.

60% majority in 10 districts of 100 people? District 1 gets 10 majority. (Residue 50 maj 40 min) District 2 gets 10 majority (residue 40 maj to 40 min). District 3 gets 10 majority (residue 30 maj 40 min). The remaining 7 districts 3 majority, 4 minority.

Minority controls 7 of 10 districts with 40%.

By requiring more majority black districts, the court requires the population of voters to be less "concentrated".

As a result the minority vote also gets less capable of being concentrated for the remainder of districts. You MIGHT still be able to engineer 6 districts if you required more dem districts, but depending on the mechanics and scale of the real world example, you might be stuck going down to 5, just because of how it balances out when you can't "deplete the majority from the residue" as effectively.
I know what gerrymandering is.
The problem you have is you have far too much of it. You need to get rid of it. And your proposal does not do that. It just entrenches it in another way to someone else's.

In your post you mention dem (presumably democratic) and black (self-explanatory). Why are these criteria considered important?
If you make electorates (you call them districts) based upon any other criteria other than strictly numeric you will encourage gerrymandering.
The only way to avoid gerrymandering is to have all districts based solely upon population i.e. each district has N persons +/- %N. Once you choose districts based upon skin colour, past voting patterns etc. you are handing out an invite to gerrymander.
You make it more complicated that it need be by considering characteristics of voters other than a pulse.
 

Jarhyn

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Just to reiterate, Gerrymandering is the act of:

Assigning members of the majority to whole districts until the residue of assignment puts the population majority into a minority within the residue, and then assigns the remaining winner-take-all districts proportional to the residue.

60% majority in 10 districts of 100 people? District 1 gets 10 majority. (Residue 50 maj 40 min) District 2 gets 10 majority (residue 40 maj to 40 min). District 3 gets 10 majority (residue 30 maj 40 min). The remaining 7 districts 3 majority, 4 minority.

Minority controls 7 of 10 districts with 40%.

By requiring more majority black districts, the court requires the population of voters to be less "concentrated".

As a result the minority vote also gets less capable of being concentrated for the remainder of districts. You MIGHT still be able to engineer 6 districts if you required more dem districts, but depending on the mechanics and scale of the real world example, you might be stuck going down to 5, just because of how it balances out when you can't "deplete the majority from the residue" as effectively.
I know what gerrymandering is.
The problem you have is you have far too much of it. You need to get rid of it. And your proposal does not do that. It just entrenches it in another way to someone else's.

In your post you mention dem (presumably democratic) and black (self-explanatory). Why are these criteria considered important?
If you make electorates (you call them districts) based upon any other criteria other than strictly numeric you will encourage gerrymandering.
The only way to avoid gerrymandering is to have all districts based solely upon population i.e. each district has N persons +/- %N. Once you choose districts based upon skin colour, past voting patterns etc. you are handing out an invite to gerrymander.
You make it more complicated that it need be by considering characteristics of voters other than a pulse.
No, you still get gerrymandering that way, because without making districts reasonably "politically whole" you deprive people in every area from effectively selecting a representative for their concerns.

Again, if I have a minority I'm trying to screw over, all I need to do is dilute their block with enough majority that they will never get enough proportion in any one district to win a representative. Instead they will be represented by the "majority" even if the entire minority lives together, on account of their "natural district" being broken up and incorporated "unnaturally" in a number of others.

If you really knew what gerrymandering was, you would know this is why "just make them equal population" is as vulnerable to it as anything else.
 

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Remember when the SCOTUS said redistricting is a political question, not one that federal courts can weigh in on? That's about to change.
 

lpetrich

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Supreme Court to hear case on GOP ‘independent legislature’ theory that could radically reshape elections - POLITICO - "The case stems from the North Carolina Supreme Court's decision this year to throw out the Republican-drawn congressional map for gerrymandering." - June 30
A Supreme Court ruling that state legislatures alone have the power to make decisions about federal elections, within the boundaries set by federal law, could have a dramatic impact on redistricting processes and election procedures.

Actions by state legislatures could still be subject to challenge in federal courts, but state courts and even governors could be sidelined under the most expansive interpretations of the “independent state legislature” theory.
I thought that right-wingers loved "checks and balances".

Earlier,
GOP pushes for an ‘earthquake in American electoral power’ - POLITICO - Mar 9
Republicans from Pennsylvania and North Carolina challenged court-ordered redistricting plans in their states based on the “independent legislature” theory. It’s a reading of the Constitution, stemming from the 2000 election recount in Florida, that argues legislators have ultimate power over elections in their states and that state courts have a limited ability — or even none at all — to check it.

...
Four conservative justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — signaled at least some favorability to the independent legislature theory on Monday. In an opinion dissenting from the decision to stay the North Carolina maps, Alito boosted the independent legislature theory when writing about the Elections Clause.
That's troublesome, though it's not very clear how far they are willing to go with it.

Giving such absolute sovereignty to gerrymandered legislatures means that they can keep themselves in power by continuing to gerrymander.
 

lpetrich

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What might happen as a result of giving state legislatures such sovereignty?

Thom Hartmann on Twitter: "1/ The Nightmare Scenario ..." / Twitter
1/ The Nightmare Scenario SCOTUS is Plotting For the 2024 Election Takeover:

2/ Six Republicans on the Supreme Court just announced — a story that has largely flown under the nation’s political radar — that they’ll consider pre-rigging the presidential election of 2024.

3/ Here’s how one aspect of it could work out, if they go along with the GOP’s arguments that will be before the Court this October:

4/ It’s November, 2024, and the presidential race between Biden and DeSantis has been tabulated by the states and called by the networks. Biden won 84,355,740 votes to DeSantis’ 77,366,412, clearly carrying the popular vote.

5/ But the popular vote isn’t enough: George W. Bush lost to Al Gore by a half-million votes and Donald Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes but both ended up in the White House. What matters is the Electoral College vote, and that looks good for Biden, too.

6/ As CNN is reporting, the outcome is a virtual clone of the 2020 election: Biden carries the same states he did that year and DeSantis gets all the Trump states.

7/ It’s 306 to 232 in the Electoral College, a 74-vote Electoral College lead for Biden, at least as calculated by CNN and the rest of the media. Biden is heading to the White House for another 4 years.

8/ Until the announcement comes out of Georgia. Although Biden won the popular vote in Georgia, their legislature decided it can overrule the popular vote and just awarded the state’s 16 electoral votes to DeSantis instead of Biden.

9/ An hour later we hear from five other states with Republican-controlled legislatures where Biden won the majority of the vote, just like he had in 2020: North Carolina (15 electoral votes), Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20) and Arizona (11).

10/ Each has followed Georgia’s lead and their legislatures have awarded their Electoral College votes — even though Biden won the popular vote in each state — to DeSantis.

11/ Thus, a total of 88 Electoral College votes from those six states move from Biden to DeSantis, who’s declared the winner and will be sworn in on January 20, 2025.

12/ Wolf Blitzer announces that DeSantis has won the election, and millions of people pour into the streets to protest. They’re met with a hail of bullets as Republican-affiliated militias have been rehearsing for this exact moment.

13/ Just as happened when Pinochet’s militias shot into crowds as he took over Chile, when Mussolini’s volunteer militia the Blackshirts killed civilians as he took over Italy, and Hitler’s Brownshirts did in Germany, their allies among the police and Army refuse to intervene.

14/ After a few thousand people lay dead in the streets of two dozen cities, the police begin to round up the surviving “instigators,” who are charged with seditious conspiracy for resisting the Republican legislatures of their states.

15/ After he’s sworn in on January 20th, President DeSantis points to the ongoing demonstrations, declares a permanent state of emergency, and suspends future elections, just as Trump had repeatedly told the world he planned for 2020.

16/ Sound far fetched?
Then discussing how that scenario would be enabled by the Supreme Court supporting the Independent State Legislature doctrine.
 
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