Thank you to the Brennan Center for Justice for the structure and much of the content for in these presentation.
Why redistricting matters.
Every ten years, Minneapolis redraws political boundaries for the wards and park board to account for population shifts throughout the state. This process, known as redistricting, is about grouping different sets of voters together to create a new political community. How those groups get organized can have a profound impact on who wins the next election and ultimately determines the composition of the city hall. Redistricting is too often ignored because the process is technical. However, too much is at stake to leave this important process to special interests and legislators. One person – one vote
February 21, 2012 ---- Legislative and congressional districts (25 weeks before the state primary) May 1, 2012 ----- Precincts and city wards (19 weeks before the state primary) May 6, 2012 ------ Candidates establish residency in districts (6 months before Election Day) May 29, 2012 County commissioner, school, park, hospital, soil & water conservation districts (15 weeks before the state primary) July 16, 2012 Candidate filing deadline September 11, 2012 State Primary November 6, 2012 Election Day
The polarization that plagues the federal government and now state government is a cry for citizens to become more engaged in how government functions. One only needs to look to Wisconsin and Illinois, where the political parties gerrymandered the maps to create safe seats to maximize their advantage in the next election. It is those safe seats that are partly to blame for the polarization that plagues our political discourse. Thanks to the courts, which have drawn the political maps in our state for a number of cycles, Minnesota has not seen the rampant gerrymandering that has existed in those other Midwestern states. However, the court can take additional steps to fully maximize the number of competitive districts. Before the court undertakes this process, however, Minnesotans should have a fuller conversation about what principles we value in the redistricting process, and thus our democracy
Eliminating incumbents or challengers In the 2000 democratic primary, Senator Barack Obama won more than 30% of the vote against incumbent Bobby Rush. Though he lost, his strong showing set the stage for a real duel in a potential rematch. In the meantime, Illinois redrew its congressional districts, in a process controlled by sitting legislators. The process neatly carved Obama out of the district, with the new lines running one block north, two blocks to the west, and one block south of Obama’s home. With Obama out of the picture, no candidate ran against Rush in the primary in either 2002 or 2004. Diluting minority votes TravisCountyDistricts.png U.S. congressional districts covering en:Travis County, Texas (outlined in red) in 2002, left, and 2004. In 2003, Republicans in the Texas legislature redistricted the state, diluting the voting power of the heavily Democratic county by parceling its residents out to more Republican districts. Created by me using Microsoft MapPoint 2004 and data from http://nationalatlas.gov The district in orange is the infamous &quot;Fajita strip&quot; district 25 (intended as a Democratic district), while the other two districts (10 and 21) are intended to elect Republicans. District 25 has now been redrawn as a result of the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision, and is no longer a &quot;Fajita strip&quot;. A 2003 congressional redistricting plan, drawn up in Texas under the helm of then U.S. House Majority leader Tom DeLay, moved about 100,000 Latino voters from one district to an adjacent one, in order to protect a particular incumbent. The incumbent had lost support among latinos every election since 1996, and just before lines were redrawn, Latinos had grown to a majority of the voting-age population in the district. The lines split off a sizable portion of the latino community and replaced them with voters more inclined to favor the incumbent. The plan ended up in the Supreme Court later forced Texas to redraw the district.
Comparison of U.S. House election results for Texas in 2002 and 2004 after mid-term redistricting. the Republican- controlled Texas legislature ‘moved’ 100,000 citizens from the majority Latino Congressional District 23 to Congressional District 25 in order to protect a District 23 incumbent who was out of favor with Latinos. the legislature added residents from predominantly white Republican counties to District 23, which dropped the Latino share of the citizen voting- age population from 57.5% to 46%. To complete the jigsaw puzzle of redistricting, the legislature created an expanded District 25 that ran three hundred miles down the state. Latinos comprised 55% of this new District’s citizen voting-age population, but the two primary Latino communities were divided between the far north and the far south of the district. In League of United Latin American Citizens et al v. Perry, Governor of Texas, et al , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ‘Texas’ redrawing of District 23’s lines amount[ed] to vote dilution violative of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.’ The District 23 incumbent, Republican Henry Bonilla, lost the next race in 2006 to Democrat Ciro Rodriguez. Though the GOP’s gerrymandering attempt was struck down by the Court, it demonstrates how race and politics factor into the redistricting process and provides a cautionary tale for parties and state legislatures seeking to engineer such districts in the next round of redistricting.”
Nesting is the delimitation of voting districts for one elected body in order to define the voting districts for another body. If the Assembly districts and the Senate districts are created independently of each other, then the process of nesting is not used. The major concerns of nesting are: the practice may impede the creation of majority-minority districts the practice may cause cities or other communities with common concerns to be split into different voting districts (and therefore dilute their votes) Illinois – Y Indiana – Y Iowa – Y Kansas – Michigan – Minnesota – Y Missouri – Nebraska – Ohio – Y Oklahoma – Wisconsin – Y
Florida Congressional District 3, 1992 (see Citizen’s Guide to Redistricting, page 50). Compactness is often measured based upon comparison of the districts’ area compared to the districts’ perimeter or as compared to the area of a circle with the same perimeter. Or by its dispersion – where a district has more pieces reaching out from the center. Illinois – Y Indiana – N Iowa – Y Kansas – Y Michigan – Y Minnesota – Y Missouri – Y Nebraska – Y Ohio – Y Oklahoma – Y (for the senate) Wisconsin – Y
Contiguity requires that all parts of a district are adjacent to each other. The shape of the left is non-contiguous while the one on the right is fully connected and therefore, contiguous. All midwest states require contiguity for their districts where practicable. Most states make exceptions for waterways and islands.
The criteria to follow political boundaries can result in odd configurations the following blue area represents the City of Columbus in Ohio and the white line is Franklin County. You can see how a requirement to follow one political boundary can exclude voters based upon a different political boundary. Illinois – none (does not apply to Congressional) Indiana – none (does not apply to Congressional) Iowa – all (applies to Congressional) Kansas – all (applies to Congressional) Michigan – counties (applies to Congressional) Minnesota – county, city, town (applies to Congressional) Missouri – county (does not apply to Congressional) Nebraska – county (applies to Congressional) Ohio – county, township, municipality, city ward (does not apply to Congressional) Oklahoma – county (does not apply to Congressional) Wisconsin – ward (does not apply to Congressional)
Another important consideration under federal law are the constraints on line drawers related to minority representation under the Voting Rights Act. To illustrate – its easiest to imagine a jurisdiction with no districts. In this example there are clear and tan people in this imaginary district. There are 20 “clear” people and 16 “tan” people. Under and at-large election system, if all the tan people and clear people experience no cross-over voting (that is to say they will vote for different candidates) then the tan population will never be able to elect a candidate of choice. To remedy that situation an alternative is to create “districts” for purposes of electing representatives. This can give rise to potential problems for the tan voters. If the lines are drawn in such a way to subdivide the tan voters so they can never make up a majority of any of the districts, that is called “cracking.” In the alternative, where all the tan voters are drawn into one or two districts so to minimize their influence in a large number of districts that is called “packing.” In both cases cracking or packing minority voters can result in violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Communities of Interest is an important factor, that can define how most of us think about our community. COI as a redistricting principle is expressly recognized by law in: Illinois – Indiana – Iowa – Kansas Y Michigan – counties (applies to Congressional) Minnesota – Y Missouri – Y Nebraska – Ohio – Oklahoma – Y (for the senate) Wisconsin – Y When considering a community of interest factors may include, among others, economic factors, social factors, cultural factors, geographic features, governmental jurisdictions and service delivery areas, political beliefs, voting trends, and incumbency considerations One of the dangers of applying the “community of interest” factor is that it can be perceived as a proxy for race – which, if it predominates, is unconstitutional. Where a redistricting authority relies upon community of interest in establishing district lines it must be able to show (1) a tangible common thread of interest that extends beyond race and that the redistricting authority was aware of the community at the time the plan was formed.
Illinois Indiana Iowa – person or party Kansas Michigan Minnesota Missouri Nebraska – person or party Ohio Oklahoma Wisconsin
When people refer to Competitive Districts – they do not always mean the same thing. Sometimes people are seeking to avoid politician choosing their voters so that they are not personally protected by picking their own districts. Other times people mean incumbent neutrality regardless of who is drawing the lines – so no line is intentionally drawn to protect or disadvantage a sitting elected official. In this example we have the 2000 District for Sen. Bobby Rush. In 2002 after an unsuccessful challenge by a young upstart named Barack Obama, the lines were redrawn to exclude Barack Obama from Bobby Rush’s district. California, Arizona, Montana and Idaho insist upon incumbent and party-neutral redistricting practices as a matter of law. In other cases people frequently mean partisan balance, which as a practical matter is very hard to achieve given population patterns. In this example, PA Dist 6 is considered one of the most competitive districts in the country in terms of partisan balance but in order to achieve this result – compactness clearly suffers. Requiring the district to snake into other areas in an amoeba-like fashion.
Final what's at stake minneapolis
Redistricting 101 presented by Mike Dean, Common Cause Minnesota
What is redistricting? <ul><li>Every 10 years (at least), after the census </li></ul><ul><li>Redrawing of district lines to ensure one voter, one vote </li></ul><ul><li>Sorts voters into groups, distributes political power, combines or divides communities </li></ul>
When does redistricting happen? April 1, 2010 ― December 31, 2010 ― January 10, 2011 ― April 1, 2011 ― May 23, 2011 --- February 21, 2012 ― April 2, 2012 ― November 6 2012 ― Minnesota congressional and legislative lines drawn Census count to President Apportionment to U.S. House Redistricting data to states Census Day Precincts and city wards Election Day. End of legislative session
<ul><li>If you care about representation, and you care about political power, </li></ul><ul><li>then you care about redistricting. </li></ul>Why does redistricting matter? should
Why does redistricting matter? <ul><li>Politicians choosing their voters </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminating incumbents or challengers </li></ul><ul><li>Diluting minority votes and splitting up communities </li></ul>Barack Obama’s house
<ul><li>In most states, including Minnesota, the state legislature draws their own and congressional district lines </li></ul><ul><li>Some states have advisory commissions to suggest lines, backup commissions in case legislature can’t draw the lines, or political or independent commissions which draw all the lines. </li></ul>Who draws the lines?
<ul><li>Social interests </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural interests </li></ul><ul><li>Racial / ethnic interests </li></ul><ul><li>Economic / trade interests </li></ul><ul><li>Geographic interests </li></ul><ul><li>Communication and transportation networks </li></ul><ul><li>Media markets </li></ul><ul><li>Urban and rural interests </li></ul><ul><li>Occupations and lifestyles </li></ul>Communities of Interest
<ul><li>Two primary models: </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibition on undue favoritism </li></ul><ul><li>Affirmatively encourage competition </li></ul>Partisanship and competition
<ul><li>Politicians choosing their voters </li></ul><ul><li>Incumbent neutrality </li></ul><ul><li>Equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans </li></ul>2000 2002 Remember: Competition can take different forms Barack Obama’s house
Current Criteria in Minnesota <ul><li>Population equality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No deviation for Congressional districts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2% maximum for Legislative districts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minority rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase minority representation when possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Compactness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General requirement, not defined or well enforced </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No rules </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statewide partisan balance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No rules </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preserving political boundaries </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be done when possible </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communities of interest </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should be preserved; not pre-defined </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nesting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>House districts must be nested in Senate districts </li></ul></ul>