Ken Larsen's website
Proposed fixes to North Carolina Gerrymandering
Gerrymandering should be outlawed. A non-partisan citizens
commission should draw district lines. The main ground rule
should be that districts be drawn without information on
party affiliation of the citizens. There also should be some
basic rules governing the shape of districts. For example, a
district can't be part of three counties unless one of the counties
is fully contained in the district. Likewise, it can't be part
of four counties unless two are fully contained.
California's model should be studied.
Below are the 13 districts of North Carolina that Republicans created in 2011. Note the gerrymandering of districts 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, and 13.
If the 2011 NC redistricting had been done fairly/impartially, Democrats would have enjoyed a 7 to 6 district edge. However, as a result of the gerrymandering, Republicans were able to give themselves a 9 to 4 district edge. This permitted them to win supermajorities in the 2012 election ... which then permitted them to steamroll a boatload of regressive legislation in 2013.
The heinous practice of gerrymandering must be outlawed! [Note: In the past, both parties been guilty of gerrymandering.]
|Rural people tend to favor Republicans. Urban people tend to favor Democrats. The strategy behind the 2011 NC Republican's gerrymandering was to take all the urban areas and place them in as few districts as possible ... conceding them to Democrats. That's why district 9 excludes downtown Charlotte. District 12 contains Charlotte and then follows a thin path along route 85 all the way northeast to pick up Greensboro. Special software was used to pull off this chicanery.|
(proposed by Bill Riles, a friend who lives in Texas)
I have been advocating fixing this problem for decades; however, I
trust no independent commission, either. It is very easy to develop
a mathematical algorithm to divide a state into the correct number
of legislative districts with equal populations and most contiguous
shapes. Case closed.
For each precinct in a state we could enter the voting population and the x/y coordinates of the center of the precinct. We would know the number of congressional districts. We get some of our math gurus to generate a least squares algorithm optimizing populations and contiguous shapes per district. No consideration, as there should not be, of party, race, income, religion, or anything else. I don't care how it turns out in any of those regards, none of us should. But it would be a totally transparent, objective process. No arguments.
I like Bill's idea!
(February 5, 2016) Three Federal judges have ruled that NC districts 1 and 12 are illegal for racial reasons. They must be redrawn by February 19. (story)
My idea is that districts should consist of full counties except if doing so places you appreciably above or below the goal of 700,000 people per district. You are permitted to "annex" part of only one other county to achieve balance.
Here's a map where I did this: