More US gerrymandering

November 14th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged previously on some boundary gerrymandering in Pennsylvania by the Republicans. To make it clear both parties gerrymander equally enthusiastically, here’s a good article on what the Democrats did in California:

This spring, a group of California Democrats gathered at a modern, airy office building just a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. The meeting was House members only — no aides allowed — and the mission was seemingly impossible.

In previous years, the party had used its perennial control of California’s state Legislature to draw district maps that protected Democratic incumbents. But in 2010, California voters put redistricting in the hands of a citizens’ commission where decisions would be guided by public testimony and open debate.

So how to gerrymander the boundaries when you no longer have direct control?

The citizens’ commission had pledged to create districts based on testimony from the communities themselves, not from parties or statewide political players. To get around that, Democrats surreptitiously enlisted local voters, elected officials, labor unions and community groups to testify in support of configurations that coincided with the party’s interests.

When they appeared before the commission, those groups identified themselves as ordinary Californians and did not disclose their ties to the party. One woman who purported to represent the Asian community of the San Gabriel Valley was actually a lobbyist who grew up in rural Idaho, and lives in Sacramento.

A bit like being a struggling desperate home owner, who happens to be the Labour Party Vice-President!

California’s Democratic representatives got much of what they wanted from the 2010 redistricting cycle, especially in the northern part of the state. “Every member of the Northern California Democratic Caucus has a ticket back to DC,” said one enthusiastic memo written as the process was winding down. “This is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated by advocates throughout the region.”

Statewide, Democrats had been expected to gain at most a seat or two as a result of redistricting. But an internal party projection says that the Democrats will likely pick up six or seven seats in a state where the party’s voter registrations have grown only marginally.

A very nice bonus.

The losers in this once-a-decade reshaping of the electoral map, experts say, were the state’s voters. The intent of the citizens’ commission was to directly link a lawmaker’s political fate to the will of his or her constituents. But as ProPublica’s review makes clear, Democratic incumbents are once again insulated from the will of the electorate.

They want insulation – they need a party list!

Read the full article – it is lengthy, but fascinating.

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14 Responses to “More US gerrymandering”

  1. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    “They want insulation – they need a party list!”

    Except that the party list is the product of a system of proportional representation. Systems like MMP make this kind of gaming irrelevant because what matters is the ideological position of the voters (party vote) not where they live.

    The best thing the US could do to overhaul their system is switch to some form of proportional representation of votes/seats – although it wouldn’t be popular with swing states who get all the attention under FPP.

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  2. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    They could have state-wide tickets of candidates for the House of Representative and each state could choose winner takes all or proportionality. I think that is how the electoral college works.

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  3. Archer (187 comments) says:

    I don’t think with the state of each of the major parties that voters will be seeing any change. Look at how both Democrat and Republican conventions rigged votes in favour of what the party heirachy wanted against opposition from party members. If party members can’t change anything then ordinary voters certainly can’t.

    I’d suggest there might only be change if 3rd party candidates got enough traction to force change, but even then the Liberal Democrats haven’t had much success in the UK as far as electoral reform.

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  4. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    It would take a major melt down in one of the two parties to see any fundamental change in US politics. At the moment, the republicans seem mostly likely to split – the true Tea Party tossers might eventually become too much for the so-called Rinos to stomach.

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  5. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Nice try at an excuse, but I think you forgot Obama’s winning margin.

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  6. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    “Forward”.

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  7. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    Hamnida: think your comment was intended for another thread, or perhaps parallel universe.

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  8. Fletch (6,132 comments) says:

    Very good article here about voter fraud re: the election, and how the author thinks of the Dem mindset; how they are proud of cheating and love to get away with it.

    At the time, we heard stories about electronic-machine “glitches” switching Romney votes to Obama ones. And Patrick Moran, son of Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), was caught on tape facilitating vote fraud while Bridgeport, CT mayor Bill Finch essentially promised to commit same for a political partner in crime.

    Since then, the indications of electoral criminality have been overwhelming. First there are the anecdotes, such as the court-appointed Republican poll watchers illegally expelled from thirteen Philadelphia polling places in wards that, in most cases, went 99 percent for Obama; the poll observers who noted what they considered vote fraud but were powerless to stop; and the Democrats who actually bragged about voting more than once.

    Then there are the statistics, such as this staggering fact: in 59 Philadelphia districts, Romney failed to get even one vote. Final Obama-Romney tally: 19,605 to 0.

    Huh? Not even one person voted GOP accidentally? I mean, there even was a Washington, D.C. councilman who inadvertently voted to approve faux marriage, saying that he didn’t know what he was voting for (that would be Marion Barry).

    Next, consider this report from The Columbus Dispatch:

    More than one out of every five registered Ohio voters is probably ineligible to vote.

    In two counties, the number of registered voters actually exceeds the voting-age population: Northwestern Ohio’s Wood County shows 109 registered voters for every 100 eligible, while in Lawrence County along the Ohio River it’s a mere 104 registered per 100 eligible.

    Another 31 counties show registrations at more than 90 percent of those eligible, a rate regarded as unrealistic by most voting experts. The national average is a little more than 70 percent.

    [...]Of the Buckeye State’s 7.8 million registered voters, nearly 1.6 million are regarded as “inactive.”

    Understand the significance. Years ago I was contacted by a Washington, D.C. community leader (who’ll remain anonymous) who told me that he had “done some computer work for several candidates over the years in DC” and had conducted his own study of urban vote fraud. He said that inner cities’ great transiency ensures that any given large metropolis will have a great number of voters who no longer live in their precinct of registration. These areas also have Democrat operatives known by the get-out-the-vote term “block captains” or “apartment captains” — people who know the lay of the land and thus what registered voters have left town. So all they need do, then, is vote for these people or have others do so. This is very easy, too, with few voter-ID laws. And this is why Democrats oppose these laws so vehemently.

    Now consider that Obama “won” Ohio by 100,000 votes. This means that to flip the state, Democrat surrogates had to illegally “activate” only 6.25 percent of its 1.6 million inactive voters.

    Note also that Ohio secretary of state Jon Husted did ask Eric Holder’s DOJ for help negotiating conflicting federal laws pertaining to purging ineligible voters could be removed from the rolls. The DOJ’s ultimate response? “No comment.”

    Yet a voter doesn’t even have to be inactive — just disengaged. For example, when the aforementioned Patrick Moran offered advice on surrogate voting, he told an undercover reporter to masquerade as a pollster and call a targeted individual to make sure he wasn’t planning to vote. And this is nothing new. In fact, liberal leg-thriller Chris Matthews himself admitted that it has been going on for years.

    Then there is the case of the missing military ballots. As Rachel Alexander at Town Hall reported:

    The conservative-leaning military vote has decreased drastically since 2010 due to the so-called Military Voter Protection Act that was enacted into law the year before. It has made it so difficult for overseas military personnel to obtain absentee ballots that in Virginia and Ohio there has been a 70% decrease in requests for ballots since 2008. In Virginia, almost 30,000 fewer overseas military voters requested ballots than in 2008. In Ohio, more than 20,000 fewer overseas military voters requested ballots. This is significant considering Obama won in both states by a little over 100,000 votes.

    Frankly, it is inconceivable that military interest in voting could’ve dropped so drastically, given conservatives’ passion this election season. The damning conclusion? The Obama machine wants our soldiers to shed blood while it sheds their votes.

    Striking as all this is, however, it’s likely just a partial picture. As with all crime, it’s a given that the discovered vote fraudsters represent only a tiny percentage of the total. And what about vote-fraud methods we haven’t even thought of yet? Remember, the Democrats have been honing this act for many, many years.

    And vote fraud is Democrat domain. Liberals are the situational-values set, people who for years insisted that right and wrong is relative and that if it feels good, do it. And what feels good to them at election time is stealing votes to win — and they do it. They relish it, in fact. Like the liberal who addressed Bill Clinton’s it-depends-on-what-is-is infidelity and adamantly told me, “He did the right thing,” leftists love the con. To pull a fast one like private eye Jim Rockford, fool everyone, and get away with it is like winning the Nobel Prize in Prevarication in their world. Thus, it’s assured that there’s no small number of liberals who are currently brimming with pride at having negated the votes of countless knuckle-dragging conservatives.

    Having said this, we can’t be sure about the exact magnitude of the vote fraud. But my judgment is this:

    The election was likely stolen.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/was_the_2012_election_stolen.html

    Yep, the election was probably stolen, but who can do anything about it now?

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  9. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    It would take a major melt down in one of the two parties to see any fundamental change in US politics….– the true Tea Party tossers might eventually become too much for the so-called Rinos to stomach.

    Curious comment, you seem to be keen on change but are a fan of the ones resisting said change.

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  10. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    The interesting thing about the voting machines is that there are also plenty of stories of people voting Obama and getting Romney selected.

    I don’t think either party is clean enough – hence my post the other day about how the Reps should clean up themselves so they then have the moral authority to clean up the reset.

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  11. Kleva Kiwi (281 comments) says:

    ‘Hamnida (864) Says:
    November 14th, 2012 at 8:07 am
    Nice try at an excuse, but I think you forgot Obama’s winning margin.”

    I know we expect you to be this stupid but it is amusing to point out the stupidity, ie every post you make…

    Obama won by 62,281,602 to 58,900,448 votes with 57.5% voter turnout, hugely down from 62.5% in 2008. He has a margin of a few percent, with stuff all people actually bothering to vote.

    If the USA had a proportional system it would have resulted in 276 Obama seats to 262 Romney. Hardly a crushing victory.

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  12. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Nice try at an excuse, but I think you forgot Obama’s winning margin.

    Nice try, but I think you’ve confused the Presidential with the Congressional elections….

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  13. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    scrubone
    Maybe we can agree that fraud is not an issue. I think the era of American ‘exceptionalism’ is pretty much over unless there is major political change, although I know the decline of the US has been forecast many times.

    I doubt that there is much incentive for the Democratic Party to rock the boat at present – their future looks rosier in term of forecast population changes. A formal split in the Republicans seems logical but such changes are historically only driven by very major crises. Does the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ count as one of those?

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  14. BlairM (2,304 comments) says:

    I don’t think with the state of each of the major parties that voters will be seeing any change. Look at how both Democrat and Republican conventions rigged votes in favour of what the party heirachy wanted against opposition from party members. If party members can’t change anything then ordinary voters certainly can’t.

    There was no rigging of anything at the GOP convention. Ron Paul did not win any primaries or caucuses other than the Virgin Islands. He was not entitled to be a candidate for nomination on that basis. The “members” had already spoken. Just because a few Ron Paul delegates were – undemocratically I might add – elected to the convention does not allow them to agitate against the clear will of their own states’ voters. Contrary to your assertion, the ordinary voters had the final say, rather than the machinations of the Paulbots.

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