I simply do not understand why the people tolerate this. My party does it too, although not as outrageously as the opposition.
Here in Ohio we had a referendum on appointing a nonpartisan commission to draw up the lines. Interested parties flooded the airwaves with scary messages about “unelected bureaucrats telling you where to vote.” The measure failed. The state remains almost as rigged as Pennsylvania.
When in doubt, go for shame.
Show up at rallies for the incumbent of the gerrymandered district with giant placards of the horrendous shape of the thing.
I have always wondered if there were a way to completely eliminate bias in this process. There is a technique called “vector quantization” that would seem to be appropriate, if the algorighm were tweaked to tend to draw boundaries along the more major roads (you do not want an automated system drawing a district boundary in the middle of somebody’s living room).
For those not familiar, this page has an AWESOME animation (click on the image)…
Page linked from here:
And then there’s Austin. Surgically divided so as to minimize the chances of someone from Austin representing the people who live in and around Austin. Being bright blue in a bright red state must be lonely.
Some salamander districts may make more sense when overlain on topographic maps, and of course, population tends to be unevenly distributed. Too much focus on districts like this (which, I’ll admit doesn’t seem to be that defensible)
can obscure the injustices done to urbanites-- simply most compact urban districts are too small to show up on the map.
There’s stuff going on with NY-12, but it’s too small to show up, even on the inset map.
Even something as simple as a legal upper limit on the ratio between perimeter and area of a district would be a good start.
Following the link, Leif Parsons’ Illinois 4th creation is described thus:
Roll Call picked this as one of the "five ugliest districts" in America a couple of years back—and that seems true in more ways than one.
It would help non-locals to know that the eviscerated central area is African-American, Latino, and the ultra-liberal suburb-on-the-edge-of-the-city Oak Park.
In Canada we leave electoral district lines up indpendent, non-partisan commissions overseen by our (also-independent) federal elections agency, Elections Canada (which reports to Parliament, not the current Government). They have a mandate to listen to concerns of local citizens when redrawing district lines (which is done every 10 years).
Another level of partisan-free-ness is assisted by certain provinces declaring most or all of their electoral districts pinned to the federal electoral districts. Thus meaning that consensus needs to be reached by more levels in order for things to change.
Consensus in Canadian governing, as evinced by recent minority federal governments, has shown to be pretty good at drawing a moderate line on issues.
Which is (one of the reasons) why I was disappointed that we ended up with a majority government this past election. Ah well, here’s hoping for a coalition in 2015.
Boise Idaho gets the same treatment.
This is why I favor election of members of the House of Representatives to be on an at-large basis, with proportional distribution of seats.
I live in one of the reddest of the red states, and it is super easy for the dominant party to gerrymander districts to assure that no resident who is not Republican will have a sympathetic representative in the House.
Full disclosure: I myself am neither Republican nor Democrat, but closest in ideology to the Green party. However, since my state also has some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation, I am pretty much condemned to holding my nose as I vote for the candidate who is least repugnant to me.
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