Vote differently
Posted by aogWednesday, 25 February 2004 at 09:25 TrackBack Ping URL

One of the oddities about the debate on gerrymandering is the presumption of the static nature of voters.

I personally favor strong rules on voting district shapes1. But that’s an administrative issue and not something I consider vital. The real issue is why complex districting plans work. It presumes a high level of stability in party voting. It makes no sense unless a 60% vote for the Democratic Party candidate in one election basically means a 60% vote the next time as well.

It seems clear that this is fact a reasonable assumption. But that means the problem is really with the voters who vote without much apparent regard to external changes. As long as that property exists, politicians will exploit it, because the ones that don’t will be preferentially removed from office (evolution in action). Voters aren’t forced to vote and they’re not forced to vote a particular way. This makes claims that gerrymandering disenfranchizes voters somewhat implausible. The real problem is yellow dog voters and no districting scheme will solve that problem.

1 I would have just two rules.

  1. The ratio of voters between the largest and smallest district can’t be more than 1.2.
  2. The plan with the smallest total boundary length wins.
Comments — Formatting by Textile
john Thursday, 04 March 2004 at 06:41

Made sense to me but I’m prejudiced as a physicist and your rationale for minimizing the borders or barriers feels good

End of Discussion