Slay the gerrymander!

I just got back from voting at my neighborhood polling place.

I voted in New York’s 28th congressional district, the so-called “earmuffs” or “headphones” district, which looks like this: –

I voted in New York’s 55th state senate district, which looks like this: –

I voted in New York’s 131st state assembly district, which looks like this: –

And I am sure these far from being the most absurdly and arbitrarily drawn congressional and legislative district.

The only requirements for drawing district boundaries are that (1) the districts be roughly equal in population and (2) the boundaries not be drawn to intentionally reduce representation of minority groups.  Isn’t it time to add (3) the districts be compact in shape, (4) the districts as much as possible, subject to requirements 1-3, respect historic governmental and community boundaries and (5) the district be drawn by a non-partisan commission, subject to an up-or-down vote by the state legislature?  It might even be possible find a computer algorithm for doing this.

I voted for Kenneth Krause, the Republican candidate for Assembly, because he has signed a pledge to support non-partisan redistricting of the Assembly.  Of course the Assembly is gerrymandered to favor Democrats, as the state Senate is gerrymandered to favor Republicans, so he has less to lose than if he were a Republican.

Click on The Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts for a slide show.  New York’s 28th makes the cut. [Added 11/4/10]

Click on Gerrymandering Gone Wild for more examples.  [Added 11/4/10]

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2 Responses to “Slay the gerrymander!”

  1. mcoville Says:

    The funny part is that I voted for the Florida state amendments calling for common sense redistricting, these amendments where supported by SEIU and other liberal groups while the GOP campaigned against it.

    I have found that anti-gerrymandering rules are opposed and supported by both Repubs and Dems, depending on who has the majority in that state. Florida is a mainly Republican state so the Dems are out to change the gerrymandering.

    This is what the tea party is about, we need common sense constitutional legislation no matter what party is for or against it.

    By the way.. I moved from Schenectady New York to Orlando Florida, good luck in saving the state I still love.


    • philebersole Says:

      Right you are. It all depends on whose ox is being gored.

      New York’s 28th congressional district was created in order to put two of the most effective Democratic congressional representatives, John LaFalce of Tonawanda and Louise Slaughter of Fairport, in the same district, thereby eliminating one of them from office.


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