Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Redistricting

California passed a ballot measure by a slim margin (50.6% - 49.4%) to create a "non-partisan" committee to define election districts, rather than the current practice of letting the legislature define its own districts. This will change the state of the State in 2010. It will be interesting to see how it goes. (I put "non-partisan" in quotes to honor RbR.)

10 comments:

The Law Talking Guy said...

I thought it was bipartisan rather than non-partisan. Big difference. As a common-law lawyer, I believe in the adversarial system, not the top-down approach of state-appointed "neutrality."

Spotted Handfish said...

Oh, ooh! Can it defined in terms of Fourier Transforms?!?!?!?

Raised By Republicans said...

I'd rather you put "non-partisan" in quotes because you realize that everyone has preferences and so there is no such thing as non-partisan, only multi- or bi- partisan. No matter much we wish for it, there is no such thing as a totally neutral districting procedure. There can, however be a more fair or equitable procedure.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The 14-member commission must be 5 Dems, 5 Republicans and 4 from neither party. 9 votes are required to approve a district: 3 Dems, 3 Repubs, 3 neutral. So yes, it is really a bipartisan panel with some neutrals thrown in to make sure that the Dems and Repubs don't just make the same deal they made in 2000 to protect all incumbents.

This is quite different from a supposedly nonpartisan bevy of platonic guardians.

Raised By Republicans said...

Who gets to pick the 4 "neither party"? I know plenty of people who are life long "independents" who are as partisan in practice as anyone.

In other words, whoever selects the 4 from neither party will determine the outcomes.

Raised By Republicans said...

Actually, I just read the full text of Prop 11. It says "four from neither major party" so Greens or Libertarians would count as "neutral."

It also says nothing at all about how these 14 people will be chosen. WIll it be the Governor? Do you really want Schwarzenegger deciding what an "independent" looks like? He could easily pack the 4 "neutral" spots with Libertarians or Constitutional Law party people who would have obvious sympathies for Republican proposals. Alternatively a future Democratic governor could do the same thing by appointing four Greens.

Passing this proposition was the second stupidest thing Californian voters did this year!

I fear its effect will be increase the number of Republicans elected to the House of Representatives from California. That would be a bad thing especially since there is no counter acting redistricting law in Texas to increase the Democrats there.

The Law Talking Guy said...

The text of prop 11 is pretty clear about how the members of the Citizen Redistricting Commission will be chosen. The State Auditor picks three names at random from the California Board of Accountancy to screen individuals to remove conflicts of interest, make sure they ahve not served in any public office for 10 years blah blah blah. It goes on for pages and pages. Then the Senate and Assembly leaders have the right to strike applicants like from a jury pool. Then the State Auditor randomly draws 8 names from what is left of the pool of applicants, of which 3 must be Dems, 3 Republicans, 2 other. Then these 8 commissioners appoint the other 6 commissioners from the same applicant pool (2 dems, 2 republicans, 2 other). And they have to aim for diversity...

It's not a system of gubernatorial appointments. The purpose is to get 5 dems, 5 rep, and 4 others. The major parties get a veto of each others' plans, and the neutrals get a veto over major party collusion. It's not a bad setup.

The Law Talking Guy said...

It also requires a 2/3 vote of the legislature to approve the final commission plan which must be voted up-or-down. The bill must be in print more than 10 days before the legislative session.

Will it result in more GOP members of Congress? Depends how bad the current gerrymander is and whether there is really much change.

Raised By Republicans said...

Where was all that, LTG? When I looked up the full text, it only had one page of text along with supporting amendments to the existing law.

If the procedure is as you report, that would certainly be less vulnerable to gubernatorial manipulation. But it still raises the question of whether random selection ensures neutrality. I know that since everyone has preferences, neutrality is impossible. So all the random selection elements do is introduce instability and uncertainty into the system.

As for the increase in GOP representation from California, I think it will prove significant. This will be the empowerment of what a friend of mine called "Calibama" (aka, the Central Valley).

The Law Talking Guy said...

Load it up again, RBR. I first thought what you did when I looked, but didn't realize that the text continued on subsequent pages.

As for increase in GOP representation, Calibama is where the GOP comes from. The gerrymandering really is seen in near the Bay and in the LA Area where the possibility of moderate republicans is curtailed carefully. The central valley is pretty much GOP anyway.