25.12.10

This week in Gerrymandering News...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/25/us/politics/25redistrict.html
“The Republicans are going to have their hand on the computer mouse, and when you have your hand on the computer mouse, you can change a district from a D to an R,” said Kimball W. Brace, president of Election Data Services, who has worked on redistricting for state legislatures and commissions.
Redistricting, it is often said, turns the idea of democracy on its head by allowing leaders to choose their voters, instead of the other way around. The new lines are drawn once a decade, after every census, to make sure that all Congressional districts have roughly the same number of people, to preserve the one-person, one-vote standard. But as a practical matter, both Democrats and Republicans often use it as an excuse to gerrymander districts for their own political advantage. This time, Republicans are better positioned to do it.

...has made Don Gaetz, the chairman of the Florida State Senate’sReapportionment Committee, a popular man. There was the friendly hug he got from a member of Congress, who offered that his district’s current lines were just fine, and the ambitious fellow lawmaker who sidled up to him at a meeting, saying that he had a great idea for a possible district.
“I’m just a lowly state senator from the panhandle of Florida, but I have all sorts of new friends,” Mr. Gaetz marveled. “Members of Congress who didn’t know I existed, and people who would like to be in Congress who I didn’t know existed.” 
I'd much prefer if districts were drawn a little more non-partisan according to community ties and boundaries. I understand that's a bit nebulous a concept, but these districts need to just change with large shifts in population, not every time a party takes control over this or that or the new census is out.

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