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Topic: Fighting the gerrymander (Read 2467 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • ravenscape
  • Administrator
  • Triggered
Fighting the gerrymander
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

Quote
Recent years have seen citizen uprisings in many blue states, where ballot measures instituted nonpartisan commissions to draw the districts for Congress and state legislatures. This as happened only in blues like California, Washington, Oregon and so on, leading to much hand-rubbing glee, at first, among republicans, who saw this as "political suicide" by democratic voters.

(Libertarians note: these are the same states that are decriminalizing marijuana and doing other things top get oppression off your back. They are also thriving vastly better than red states.)

Only lo and behold, a funny thing happened. With more neutral districting, Democrats did better at the polls. It seemed that voters trusted those legislators more, not less, when they had to work hard, each election, rather than taking their constituents for granted.

Which led to my call for Democrats to abandon gerrymandering altogether, especially in DP dominated states that still use it, like Illinois and Maryland. All those exceptions have accomplished, overall, was to let Republicans cry "See? Everybody does it!"

I doubt that Holder or Obama actually listened to me. Still, it seems my advice is being carried out. Obama and Holder will jawbone Illinois, Maryland and others to abandon gerrymandering, so that it will become strictly a Republican crime. Instead of just mostly a Republican crime.

At which point we might see whether Justice Roberts and Justice Alito -- and Justice Gorsuch -- are still able to stomach the utterly intolerable. Or whether those three can rouse themselves to be citizens first, before and above being partisan hacks. (We will see a number of occasions, over the next few years, when those three might hold the fate of our Great Experiment in their hands.)

== The simplest solution to a cheat ==

As it happens, Roberts and Alito earlier held back from meddling in gerrymandering, because they saw no clear way to prescribe a redistricting process. Only here's the thing: you don't even have to demand impartial redistricting commissions! I have long reponded with a three sentence solution:

The three sentences

(1) Set some upper limit to all districts' perimeter-to-area ratio. (You can be generous; just forbid the absurdly contorted.)

(2) The legislature - or some commission -- may establish the boundaries, but...

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible. Hence, if they gerry one house to benefit their own party, fine! They'll mess themselves up in the other two.

Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #1
Hmm. Interesting. I agree that gerrymandering is a problem. I also don't want Dems to do it. That is an interesting approach.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • Martin.au
  • Thingyologist
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #2
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

Quote
Recent years have seen citizen uprisings in many blue states, where ballot measures instituted nonpartisan commissions to draw the districts for Congress and state legislatures. This as happened only in blues like California, Washington, Oregon and so on, leading to much hand-rubbing glee, at first, among republicans, who saw this as "political suicide" by democratic voters.

(Libertarians note: these are the same states that are decriminalizing marijuana and doing other things top get oppression off your back. They are also thriving vastly better than red states.)

Only lo and behold, a funny thing happened. With more neutral districting, Democrats did better at the polls. It seemed that voters trusted those legislators more, not less, when they had to work hard, each election, rather than taking their constituents for granted.

Which led to my call for Democrats to abandon gerrymandering altogether, especially in DP dominated states that still use it, like Illinois and Maryland. All those exceptions have accomplished, overall, was to let Republicans cry "See? Everybody does it!"

I doubt that Holder or Obama actually listened to me. Still, it seems my advice is being carried out. Obama and Holder will jawbone Illinois, Maryland and others to abandon gerrymandering, so that it will become strictly a Republican crime. Instead of just mostly a Republican crime.

At which point we might see whether Justice Roberts and Justice Alito -- and Justice Gorsuch -- are still able to stomach the utterly intolerable. Or whether those three can rouse themselves to be citizens first, before and above being partisan hacks. (We will see a number of occasions, over the next few years, when those three might hold the fate of our Great Experiment in their hands.)

== The simplest solution to a cheat ==

As it happens, Roberts and Alito earlier held back from meddling in gerrymandering, because they saw no clear way to prescribe a redistricting process. Only here's the thing: you don't even have to demand impartial redistricting commissions! I have long reponded with a three sentence solution:

The three sentences

(1) Set some upper limit to all districts' perimeter-to-area ratio. (You can be generous; just forbid the absurdly contorted.)

(2) The legislature - or some commission -- may establish the boundaries, but...

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible. Hence, if they gerry one house to benefit their own party, fine! They'll mess themselves up in the other two.

Elegant
"That which can be asserted with evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." (Dave Hawkins)

  • Fenrir
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #3
We have a sordid history of gerrymander here, along with malapportionment of the vote topped off with organised crime and police corruption. At one stage the incumbent premier required just 20% of the vote to win government.

It was nasty and required enormous effort amd significant good fortune to even begin the process which destroyed it, from a few dedicated journalists and courageous members of the judiciary.

The history might be informative. Look up "qld gerrymander" or "moonlight state" or "qld Fitzgerald" or something like that.

Good luck

Good luck
It's what plants crave.

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #4
And now Hanson has 23% support anyway.
Truth is out of style

  • Fenrir
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #5
That's if she can manage to have some candidates left at election time.
It's what plants crave.

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #6
Don't you worry about that.
Truth is out of style

  • Fenrir
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #7
Heh
It's what plants crave.

  • Martin.au
  • Thingyologist
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #8
We have a sordid history of gerrymander here, along with malapportionment of the vote topped off with organised crime and police corruption. At one stage the incumbent premier required just 20% of the vote to win government.

It was nasty and required enormous effort amd significant good fortune to even begin the process which destroyed it, from a few dedicated journalists and courageous members of the judiciary.

The history might be informative. Look up "qld gerrymander" or "moonlight state" or "qld Fitzgerald" or something like that.

Good luck

Good luck

It apparently has a special name.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjelkemander
"That which can be asserted with evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." (Dave Hawkins)

  • Pingu
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #9
I have a Darwin-debased mind.

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #10
Yeah but that's far too  :britfag:

They is Murricans. It has to involve lotsa big guns.
Truth is out of style

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #11
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

<snippity>

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible.
^ The tricky bit is going to be defining this.
Truth is out of style

  • Martin.au
  • Thingyologist
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #12
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

<snippity>

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible.
^ The tricky bit is going to be defining this.


Seems like the sort of problem (that and the initial boundary definition) that would be best solved by using a few spatial algorithms and iterating a bunch of times. Of course, that would be a completely objective way of organizing electoral boundaries and we wouldn't want that.

Anyway, the simple solution would be "unique area / area of overlap" with greater being better. The only niggle would be that this alone would tend towards funny, skinny, electoral districts. However, when combined with a perimeter/area limit, may achieve the desired goal.
"That which can be asserted with evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." (Dave Hawkins)

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #13
The other catch is that you'll have to get the Repubs to go along with this, and the chances of that happening are somewhere between fuck all and Buckley's.
Truth is out of style

Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #14
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

<snippity>

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible.
^ The tricky bit is going to be defining this.


Seems like the sort of problem (that and the initial boundary definition) that would be best solved by using a few spatial algorithms and iterating a bunch of times. Of course, that would be a completely objective way of organizing electoral boundaries and we wouldn't want that.

Anyway, the simple solution would be "unique area / area of overlap" with greater being better. The only niggle would be that this alone would tend towards funny, skinny, electoral districts. However, when combined with a perimeter/area limit, may achieve the desired goal.
I could provide these in about 6 or 8 hours for my state.
Love is like a magic penny
 if you hold it tight you won't have any
if you give it away you'll have so many
they'll be rolling all over the floor

  • el jefe
  • asleep till 2020 or 2024
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #15
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

<snippity>

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible.
^ The tricky bit is going to be defining this.


Seems like the sort of problem (that and the initial boundary definition) that would be best solved by using a few spatial algorithms and iterating a bunch of times. Of course, that would be a completely objective way of organizing electoral boundaries and we wouldn't want that.

Anyway, the simple solution would be "unique area / area of overlap" with greater being better. The only niggle would be that this alone would tend towards funny, skinny, electoral districts. However, when combined with a perimeter/area limit, may achieve the desired goal.
the rule needs to be simple, so people can trust it to be fair, reasonably abuse - proof, and to operate as intended

  • el jefe
  • asleep till 2020 or 2024
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #16
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

Quote
Recent years have seen citizen uprisings in many blue states, where ballot measures instituted nonpartisan commissions to draw the districts for Congress and state legislatures. This as happened only in blues like California, Washington, Oregon and so on, leading to much hand-rubbing glee, at first, among republicans, who saw this as "political suicide" by democratic voters.

(Libertarians note: these are the same states that are decriminalizing marijuana and doing other things top get oppression off your back. They are also thriving vastly better than red states.)

Only lo and behold, a funny thing happened. With more neutral districting, Democrats did better at the polls. It seemed that voters trusted those legislators more, not less, when they had to work hard, each election, rather than taking their constituents for granted.

Which led to my call for Democrats to abandon gerrymandering altogether, especially in DP dominated states that still use it, like Illinois and Maryland. All those exceptions have accomplished, overall, was to let Republicans cry "See? Everybody does it!"

I doubt that Holder or Obama actually listened to me. Still, it seems my advice is being carried out. Obama and Holder will jawbone Illinois, Maryland and others to abandon gerrymandering, so that it will become strictly a Republican crime. Instead of just mostly a Republican crime.

At which point we might see whether Justice Roberts and Justice Alito -- and Justice Gorsuch -- are still able to stomach the utterly intolerable. Or whether those three can rouse themselves to be citizens first, before and above being partisan hacks. (We will see a number of occasions, over the next few years, when those three might hold the fate of our Great Experiment in their hands.)

== The simplest solution to a cheat ==

As it happens, Roberts and Alito earlier held back from meddling in gerrymandering, because they saw no clear way to prescribe a redistricting process. Only here's the thing: you don't even have to demand impartial redistricting commissions! I have long reponded with a three sentence solution:

The three sentences

(1) Set some upper limit to all districts' perimeter-to-area ratio. (You can be generous; just forbid the absurdly contorted.)

(2) The legislature - or some commission -- may establish the boundaries, but...

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible. Hence, if they gerry one house to benefit their own party, fine! They'll mess themselves up in the other two.

Elegant
yeah.  #1 alone would do a lot of good.

  • Pingu
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #17
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

<snippity>

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible.
^ The tricky bit is going to be defining this.


Seems like the sort of problem (that and the initial boundary definition) that would be best solved by using a few spatial algorithms and iterating a bunch of times. Of course, that would be a completely objective way of organizing electoral boundaries and we wouldn't want that.

Anyway, the simple solution would be "unique area / area of overlap" with greater being better. The only niggle would be that this alone would tend towards funny, skinny, electoral districts. However, when combined with a perimeter/area limit, may achieve the desired goal.

Outputs tend to be spirals.
I have a Darwin-debased mind.

  • Martin.au
  • Thingyologist
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #18
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2017/02/can-cheating-be-combatted.html

<snippity>

(3) There must be minimal overlap between the boundaries of districts for state assembly, state senate and Congress. They must be as different from each other as practically possible.
^ The tricky bit is going to be defining this.


Seems like the sort of problem (that and the initial boundary definition) that would be best solved by using a few spatial algorithms and iterating a bunch of times. Of course, that would be a completely objective way of organizing electoral boundaries and we wouldn't want that.

Anyway, the simple solution would be "unique area / area of overlap" with greater being better. The only niggle would be that this alone would tend towards funny, skinny, electoral districts. However, when combined with a perimeter/area limit, may achieve the desired goal.

Outputs tend to be spirals.
Can you expand on this?
"That which can be asserted with evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." (Dave Hawkins)

  • ravenscape
  • Administrator
  • Triggered
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #19
Not gerrymander, precisely, but the North Carolina supreme court slapped down a GOP Election Board power grab.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/02/14/north_carolina_supreme_court_blocks_republican_election_board_overhaul.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_top.

The governor will be able to increase the hours/days for early voting, and also un-purge voters who were purged before the 2016 election.

  • ravenscape
  • Administrator
  • Triggered
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #20
http://www.chronicle.com/article/Meet-the-Math-Professor/239260/

Quote
Q. What is the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group's aim?

A. In redistricting, one of the principles that's taken seriously by courts is that districts should be compact. The U.S. Constitution does not say that, but many state constitutions do, and it's taken as a kind of general principle of how districts ought to look.

But nobody knows exactly what compactness means. People just have the idea that it means the shape shouldn't be too weird, shouldn't be too eccentric; it should be a kind of reasonable shape. Lots of people have taken a swing at that over the years. Which definition you choose actually has stakes. It changes what maps are acceptable and what maps aren't. If you look at the Supreme Court history, what you'll see is that a lot of times, especially in the '90s, the court would say, Look, some shapes are obviously too bizarre but we don't know how to describe the cutoff. How bizarre is too bizarre? We don't know; that sounds hard.

Quote
Q. It's like how they define obscenity.

A. Exactly. When I started thinking about this, I was surprised to see that even though there were different mathematical attempts at a definition, you don't ever see mathematicians testifying in court about it. So our first aim was to think like mathematicians about compactness and look at all the definitions that already exist, and compare them and try to prove theorems about the relationships between the definitions.

What courts have been looking for is one definition of compactness that they can understand, that we can compute, and that they can use as a kind of go-to standard. I don't have any illusions that we're going to settle that debate forever, but I think we can make a contribution to the debate.

Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #21
That article is really interesting! I've recently gotten involved in an anti-Gerrymandering group here in my super-Gerrymandered state and I think my little subgroup would really enjoy reading this. I'm going to share this with them before tonight's meeting. Thanks for posting it!

  • osmanthus
  • Administrator
  • Fingerer of piglets
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #22
Hey has anyone seen the Arnie vid? It's rather good. Obama and Arnie should team up if they both want to get rid of gerrymanders. They'd be a team with good optics.

http://www.attn.com/videos/14934/arnold-schwarzenegger-just-revealed-reason-congress-worse-herpes
Truth is out of style

  • ravenscape
  • Administrator
  • Triggered

  • ravenscape
  • Administrator
  • Triggered
Re: Fighting the gerrymander
Reply #24
That article is really interesting! I've recently gotten involved in an anti-Gerrymandering group here in my super-Gerrymandered state and I think my little subgroup would really enjoy reading this. I'm going to share this with them before tonight's meeting. Thanks for posting it!

How are things going for your group?