Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Redistricting revisited

As a follow-up to my earlier post about redistricting, here's one idea for how a fair redistricting plan would work.

6. Each district shall be as contiguous as compact as practicable. With respect to compactness, to the extent practicable a contiguous area of population shall not be bypassed to incorporate an area of population more distant.

a. Respect for contiguous and compact districts shall be secondary to the goals of representativness and competitiveness.

7. District boundaries shall conform to the existing geographic boundaries of a county, city, or city and county, and shall preserve identifiable communities of interest to the greatest extent possible. A redistricting plan shall provide for the most whole counties and the fewest county fragments possible, and the most whole cities and fewest city fragments possible. For the purposes of this section, communities of interest are defined by similarities in social, cultural, ethnic, and economic interest, school districts, and other formal relationships between municipalities.

They also suggest forming large, multirepresentative districts out of (for example) three individual districts, and then electing the top three votegetters. That way you get fair minority representation without having to gerrymander individual districts.

Couple this with instant-runoff voting and you'd go a long way toward making elections fair, competitive and representative.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

On combining districts and taking the top three, terrible Idea. Imagine a situation in which 90% of a district votes for one canidate. That leaves you with the canidate with 10% of the population with twice as much representation as 90%. Would the dominant party have to ration the votes. "everybody east of the freeway vote for this guy, and everybody west vote for our second canidate" to avoid clumping.

This seems to be in every way worse then the current system, allowing even more abusive gerrymandering (put all the minorities in one district, and really concentrate them to one canidate.

Instant runoff voting is a very good idea though.

3/02/2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

If you read the details on the link, they require that someone get at least a third of the total vote in order to get elected. So that avoids the guy with 10% getting elected.

What I don't know is how they handle the problem of "the district has two seats, one guy got 90%, so now there's an open seat."

3/02/2006 3:58 PM  

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