Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Attacking The Gerrymander

The joke goes that the Dems are the Evil party and the Reps are the Stupid party. Sometimes they get together and write legislation that is both Evil and Stupid. This is called bipartisanship. So imagine my trepidation at the news that a bipartisan committee has proposed a constitutional amendment to turn gerrymandering redistricting over to an independent panel of 4 Dems, 4 Reps, and 4 unaffiliated people rather than making the process the unabashed partisan fiasco it is now.

The big problem I have is with the unaffiliated members. Who picks them, the governor? Who are they, party hacks who recently changed their registration from R or D to U? The result of this would be in effect no change at all. If it makes you feel any better, all their hearings would have to be open and public. At least it wouldn’t be too hard to see just how nonpartisan everyone was.

Map drawing would be done by professional cartographers so we can be assured of good graphics at least, and final approval would require 8 of the 12 members which wouldn’t be too hard if the 4 indies turned out to be aligned with one party or the other. The new districts are required to be competitive to some definition of competitive. No word on the compact and contiguous part yet.

Really there are computer programs capable of creating compact, contiguous, and competitive districts from the available data in a flash and if it were deemed necessary to include a “pigtail” to a district to account for terrain or city or county boundaries, that too can be arranged. Iowa has a similar law that amazingly got their boundaries drawn the last time without any lawsuits being filed over them at all. The big difference is that in Iowa, the legislature has to approve the result while in our proposed method, the committee approves its own work.

Update: The jury's still out as the committee has proposed putting forward the amendment but the actual wording hasn't been worked out yet.


danno said...

Avoid like the plague!

AZ went the same route a while decade or two back. 2 D's 2 R's + 1 "I". In quotes of course because most "I"'s are D's that won't admit it. Or maybe just out of convenience (

The result: at the state level we are a completely red state. But at the federal level, due to gerrymandering, we are solid purple: 4D 5R (was 5D 4R when McSally bested Barber in Tucson). Realistically only 1 or 2 districts are competitive.

And once it's written into the constitution, it's really hard to change. This is George Soros backed initiative

Too late for AZ good luck in CO!

Anonymous said...

Nothing, absolutely nothing, should be amended to any constitution with respect to gerrymandering. Do not be swayed by this or that. It is a Do Not Trespass issue.

Billll said...

Jefferson noted that it was the nature of governments to continuously expand their reach and in this case I expect no exception. If there is a way to circumvent this law, it will be found. As to those "independents" I suspect that until we import some little green men from Altair, we won't get real ones.