Monday, February 18, 2013

Simple way to kill gerrymandering

District design has four different principles - two 'good' and two 'bad'.

The good ones are as follows:

  1. Design districts to represent a specific sub-culture or group.  The river folk, the farmers, the steel workers, the office workers, etc, ensuring every voice is heard.  This argues in favor of weirdly shaped districts to capture all of the culture, regardless of where they settle.  Here we are intentionally taking several minority views and concentrating them so that they have a voice.  The goal here is to group them over 55% , letting them win at least one district.
  2. Design districts to ensure that the general population of the state's views are accurately reflected by the district.  The idea here is to ensure that the majority has control of the majority of the districts., and the minority has control of a minority of the districts.   This involves dispersing the votes, not concentrating them.   If the state s 60% party A, 40% party B, then make sure that 60% of the districts are dominated by party A and 40% are dominated by party B.
The evil ones are as follows:

  1. Concentrate a minority so that their votes are all wasted on one district.  The goal here is to group them over 70% so that they only get one district (or as few as possible).
  2. Salt the majorities everywhere so that they win all districts, ideally preventing minorities from concentrating and even winning a single district.  But failing that keeping the minority under-represented.
At first glance, the methods look similar.   But let's talk about the difference is quote striking.

Sub culture districting is designed for a goal of 55%.  Anything over 65% in effect does the OPPOSITE of the desired view.

There is NO ethical reason whatsoever to put in more than 70% of any minority group, race or creed.  Ever.  There is no reason to pump it up over 60%, unless you are being unethical.

Any district that where 60% or more of registered voters belong to one party can not touch a district that has less than 45% of registered voters from one party.  (Using data available at district creation.)

Because if you are concentrating a 'minority' to let them have one district, then you are not allowed to over-concentrate them, preventing them from having two districts.

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