Chamblee54

Gerrymandering

Posted in GSU photo archive, Politics, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on March 24, 2021

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99% Invisible recently had an episode about gerrymandering. It was based on a series at FiveThirtyEight, The Gerrymandering Project Gerrymandering is like the weather: many people talk about it, but few know how it works. One former governor of California likes to say that we should terminate gerrymandering. The Austrian accent is a nice touch. This is a repost.

Gerrymandering is “the division of electoral districts for partisan political advantage.” The name dates back to Elbridge Gerry, one of the founding fathers. (…we should remember eight men who signed the Declaration of Independence, and later attended the Constitutional Convention … Elbridge Gerry (the namesake of gerrymandering) refused to sign the Constitution because it did not have a Bill of Rights.) When Mr. Gerry was Governor of Massachusetts, a bizarre district was drawn. It was said to look like a salamander, thus gerrymander.(Some purists say gary-mander.)

OK. How does it work? There are two terms used in the show, Cracking and Packing.Cracking: Spreading like-minded voters apart across multiple districts to dilute their voting power in each. This denies the group representation in multiple districts. Packing: Concentrating like-minded voters together in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts. This gives the group representation in a single district while denying them representation across districts.” When you put these concepts into play, you start to cause brain damage.

The idea behind “The Voting Rights Act of 1965” was to safeguard the right of minorities to vote. The devil is in the details. “Section 2 of the Act, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on the literacy tests on a nationwide basis. Among its other provisions, the Act contained special enforcement provisions targeted at those areas of the country where Congress believed the potential for discrimination to be the greatest. Under Section 5, jurisdictions covered by these special provisions could not implement any change affecting voting until the Attorney General or the United States District Court for the District of Columbia determined that the change did not have a discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory effect.”

“In 1982, the North Carolina state legislature approved redistricting plans for the North Carolina State Senate and the North Carolina House of Representatives. The maps were challenged in United States District Court. The challengers alleged that the new maps “impaired black citizens’ ability to elect representatives of their choice in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” The district court ruled that six legislative districts violated the Voting Rights Act “by diluting the power of the black vote.” The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

On June 30, 1986, the high court ruled unanimously in Thornburg v. Gingles that five of the aforementioned six districts “discriminated against blacks by diluting the power of their collective vote.” … In Thornburg v. Gingles, the court also established three criteria that must be met in order “to prove claims of vote dilution under section 2 [of the Voting Rights Act]:” “The minority group must be able to demonstrate that it is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district.” “The minority group must be able to show that it is politically cohesive.” “The minority must be able to demonstrate that the white majority votes sufficiently as a bloc to enable it usually to defeat the minority’s preferred candidate.”

In the post 1990 census redistricting, an effort was made to create “majority-minority” districts. This did enable some minorities, mostly African American, to elect people to congress. It also had the effect of creating highly republican districts. When you pack the (mostly democrat) black people in a district, the neighboring districts become more white, and more republican.

One of the states affected by this is Georgia. Congressional districts in the peach state have long resembled abstract expressionism. It got so bad in 1995 that the US courts had to draw the new districts. Court Draws Georgia Map Of Congressional Districts “The State Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats, ceded responsibility for drawing new Congressional lines to the courts in September when it failed to agree on a plan in a 20-day special session. That session was called after the United States Supreme Court ruled in June that Georgia’s 1992 Congressional map was unconstitutional because race played a dominant role in the configuration of the 11th District. Represented by Cynthia A. McKinney, who is black, the 11th snakes 260 miles through east Georgia, pulling pockets of black voters into a gerrymandered district that was intended to elect a minority candidate.” The bizarre district lines continue to this day.

There are probably not any easy solutions. We you try to remedy one problem, like racial imbalance, you aggravate another one, like overly republican districts. Arizona tried using an independent commission. The meetings wound up on the Jerry Springer show. Do we want to choose our representatives, or do our representatives want to choose their voters? Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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  1. Rush To King Soopers | Chamblee54 said, on March 29, 2021 at 9:03 am

    […] cannon ~ Dylan Nyoukis ~ tn covid ~ Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa 1000 true fans ~ dead032470 ~ h.r. 1319 ~ Gerrymandering ~ repost mathasville ~ glaad jesse ~ video ~ red dirt poetry ~ gloria and max It turns out that […]


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