Day 5 - Cracking and Packing: Districting in the House
DAY 5 – CRACKING AND
PACKING – DISTRICTING
IN THE HOUSE OF
July 2, 2013
Read Sides‟ “Gerrymandering is not what‟s wrong
with American Politics”
DO NOT READ Abramowitz et al.
I will send out a poll this afternoon for you to
rank order your preferences for the legislative
Let me know if you are going to pair up with
Let me know your top 5 states.
I will use a sophisticated algorithm to assign a
state to your group.
In the News - VRA Ruling
What is the Voting Rights Act?
House vote - http://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/89-1965/h87
What did the courts rule on?
“Section 4 of the VRA creates a formula that determines what states should
be subject to Section 5, which requires states to submit any changes to
election or voting laws, alterations of state legislative or congressional district
lines, to the Justice Dept. for Approval. (That process is commonly known
as pre-clearance.) That formula was – until today – based on a) states that
had used some form of ballot test (literacy being the main one) to determine
whether people can vote and b) whether less than 50 percent of eligible
voters were registered to vote by November 1964.”
Are people paying attention to this ruling (and others)?
Constitutional Qualifications for
Age (25 for House, 30 for Senate)
Citizenship (7 years for House, 9 years for
Residency (In the state from which the
officeholder is elected)
Can states add to these qualifications?
U.S. Term Limits versus Thornton
Do representatives have to live in their district?
No. Morgan Griffith “Residency” ad -
“One of the most malapportioned legislatures
in the democratic world.”
9 largest states – 51% of population
18% of representation in Senate
26 smallest states – 18% of population
52% of representation
The Method of Equal Proportions
Last in – Minnesota (8)
First out – North Carolina
Would have earned a 14th seat in Congress if they had
15,734 more residents.
Size of Congress Over Time
not agree on an
Act of 1929 locks
size at 435
Data collected from U.S. Census Bure
in Northeast and
in the West and
Data collected from U.S. Census Burea
Districting in the House
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Requires states to not dilute the representation of
1967 law (PL 90-196) prohibited at-large and
other multi-member elections by states with more
than one House seat.
Only affected 2 states – HI and NM
Anticipated a concern that southern states might move
to this strategy.
Electoral College Reform
Nebraska and Maine
Winner of state‟s popular vote gets 2 electoral votes.
Winner gets 1 electoral vote per Congressional district
Seats Gained Under New Plan
Romney Gains Obama Gains
Results If Plan Were Adopted
maximizes seats for
one party or voting
Before VRA, “blacks were systematically
„packed‟ into or „cracked‟ across congressional
districts to weaken their influence” (DOL p.53)
What are the pros and cons of majority-
How have the courts ruled?