Gerrymandering

Is Redistricting Depriving Women of Their Voting Rights?

The Supreme Court weighs in.

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Since at least 2004, when the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Pennsylvania's congressional district boundaries because there was not a good enough way to quantify gerrymandering, the problem facing would-be reformers is this: How do you measure something that's best understood by how it affects other things?

Last year, reformers thought they had solved that conundrum. Armed with a new metric called the "Efficiency Gap"—a formula that claims to demonstrate how gerrymandering makes congressional races less competitive—they asked the Supreme Court to toss out Wisconsin's congressional map.

The court refused, emphatically. In a unanimous ruling, the nine justices agreed that the Supreme Court would not be responsible "for vindicating generalized partisan preferences." The court could, however, be interested in adjudicating specific cases of disenfranchisement as a result of unfairly drawn districts, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote at the time.

Enter Faulkner Fox, a plaintiff in League of Women Voters v. Rucho, a new gerrymandering case that will go before the Supreme Court this spring. Fox is a progressive activist from Durham, North Carolina, who says that state's unfair congressional districts have made her work "almost irrelevant."

In some ways, she's right. Despite being a purple state, Republicans have held 10 of North Carolina's 13 congressional seats since a GOP-controlled redistricting prior to the 2012 election. But again, that merely describes an effect of gerrymandering and not the thing itself.

By arguing that specific plaintiffs, like Fox, have had their political voices silenced by tilted congressional districts, reformers hope to give Roberts what he implicitly requested last year: specific cases of disenfranchisement.

Unfortunately, while trying to follow the roadmap outlined in his opinion, the League of Women Voters seems to have gotten a bit lost.

On its face, Fox's argument is unconvincing. Even if it could be proven that gerrymandering was uniquely to blame for the loss of her activist mojo, wouldn't any other activist on the losing side of an election have a similar claim? Any Republican in Philadelphia or Washington, D.C., knows the sting of irrelevant political work, but that doesn't mean the Supreme Court should step in.

This latest effort to get a high court ruling on gerrymandering would appear to move the debate further from objective, quantifiable judgments. Indeed, Fox's argument seems better suited to the arena of politics, not law. She should make her case to state policy makers, who ultimately control redistricting. States can and should reform district boundaries, either by setting new state-specific rules or by offloading the process to commissions that involve the public, as some states have done with mixed success.

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58 responses to “Is Redistricting Depriving Women of Their Voting Rights?

  1. Didn’t some PA judge redraw their lines to give Dems an advantage?

    1. No, there just happens to be more registered Democrats so naturally they’ll an advantage on paper all things being equal.

      1. You like to lie quite a bit. The courts used a “non partisan” commission that ended up looking nearly identical to the DNC plan. It shifted 5 districts to be plus 5 Democrat in registered voters. It was blindly partisan. On top of that it was unconstitutional as the lines effect federal elections. The constitution states the legislature is in charge of this process regarding federal elections, not the courts.

        1. The split of Congressional seats is now much more reflective of the popular vote. In 2012 the Republican statewide minority vote won 13 of 18 seats. In 2018, with a bare majority statewide, Trump still won 10 of the districts. The new districting looks like a much fairer plan based on these results. It does not look like the Dems got an unfair advantage.

          1. Popular vote within a state is really a poor means of determining the partisan distribution of the representatives of that state for a simple reason.

            Political preference is not uniform within a state.

        2. The split of Congressional seats is now much more reflective of the popular vote. In 2012 the Republican statewide minority vote won 13 of 18 seats. In 2018, with a bare majority statewide, Trump still won 10 of the districts. The new districting looks like a much fairer plan based on these results. It does not look like the Dems got an unfair advantage.

        3. The split of Congressional seats is now much more reflective of the popular vote. In 2012 the Republican statewide minority vote won 13 of 18 seats. In 2018, with a bare majority statewide, Trump still won 10 of the districts. The new districting looks like a much fairer plan based on these results. It does not look like the Dems got an unfair advantage.

        4. The split of Congressional seats is now much more reflective of the popular vote. In 2012 the Republican statewide minority vote won 13 of 18 seats. In 2018, with a bare majority statewide, Trump still won 10 of the districts. The new districting looks like a much fairer plan based on these results. It does not look like the Dems got an unfair advantage.

        5. The split of Congressional seats is now much more reflective of the popular vote. In 2012 the Republican statewide minority vote won 13 of 18 seats. In 2018, with a bare majority statewide, Trump still won 10 of the districts. The new districting looks like a much fairer plan based on these results. It does not look like the Dems got an unfair advantage.

        6. The split of Congressional seats is now much more reflective of the popular vote. In 2012 the Republican statewide minority vote won 13 of 18 seats. In 2018, with a bare majority statewide, Trump still won 10 of the districts. The new districting looks like a much fairer plan based on these results. It does not look like the Dems got an unfair advantage.

    2. Didn’t some PA judge redraw their lines to give Dems an advantage?

      Yes.

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  2. Is Redistricting Depriving Women of Their Voting Rights?

    No.

    1. Well…
      Maybe they should

    2. How does the thesis make sense? Women are >50% of the population. I doubt they self-segregate enough to exclude them from a district. I also question why it is better to have more competitive districts. It seems beneficial for districts to have shared concerns/values

      1. That’s the beauty of disparate impact. There is always some group that is statistically harmed no matter how you draw the lines. Therefore anything a Republican legislature does is wrong. Get it now?

      2. All women are Democrats don’t you know? And any “woman” who votes Republican (or LP) is not a real woman.

    3. Only if they vote the wrong way.

  3. Gerrymandering seems pretty damn analogous to Jim Crow laws. These state legislatures are targeting people based on political association and scheming to deprive them of political representation and giving unfair advantage to their own partisans. The whole point of the exercise is to rig the vote.

    1. I think you have a point there. I’m always amazed that more people don’t find the political gerrymandering that always goes on far more outrageous. It’s rigging the system to get a particular type of outcome if not a particular outcome.

      1. That’s because one person’s outrage is another person’s political justice, or at least balance.

        Based on any drawing of the lines there will be winners and losers. You could go by straight population, but then you have a problem that we have tried to avoid since the founding- a majority in a couple of cities is able to impose its will on the people in rural areas. This is on display in places like Oregon where state-wide minimum wage laws (for example) are making it very difficult for businesses in rural areas outside Portland to operate. Go straight geography and you have the opposite problem where rural enclaves get to dominate the system.

        So where do you (literally) draw the line? The point here is that it is an inherently political question. It is a question of to what extent a polity will be governed by strict majority rules vs some balance of geography. You cannot have an impartial method when there is no consensus on the intended outcome of that method.

        Many reasonable people will see some of the historical examples as beyond the pale (I recall a district could only be contiguous during low tide, for example), but many of those same people would disagree vehemently about less egregious examples.

        1. A perfect example is given in the specific court case. The way lines are drawn, this specific activist group has less power to change policy. Well, why shouldn’t that be the case? Why should that specific group get its representative’s voices to prevail when there are many countering groups around?

          The North Carolina status is a great model to look at. The activists complain that even though they are a purple state, 10 of 13 seats go Republican. But that isn’t necessarily an example of “Unfairness”. Imagine if you went with straight geography- dividing the state into equal chunks. If rural areas were more spread out conservative, then you would find that the vast area of NC (i.e. the number of districts) goes Republican. And even if the state were completely homgenous- i.e. the percentages of dems vs republicans was the same in every district, you would still likely see the same behavior- that is, one percentage point of the vote towards dems or gop (i.e. 49.5% of people vote dem, vs 50.5% vote gop), you would see that party mop up the majority of the districts.

          Trying to make a fair way to do this is impossible.

          1. Someone once said that drawing congressional districts is one of the most political things you can do.

            Most of the area of most states are conservative and don’t want to be dragged into Lefty voting blocks. Lefties in Cities don’t want all their voters put into a single congressional district. So there needs to be a compromise.

            One way is to mathematically divide the state into geometric shapes. This would likely impact most districts and cause numerous Congressmen to lose their seats since the districts would shift away from where they lived or change the dynamics of the district.

            Also, who would determine what kind of geometric shape to use.

            1. Yup. Since commies congregate so hard in major cities, you’d literally have to have a star burst type rays shooting out around the state from the center of said city to really balance a lot of districts out fully… Which is kind of silly. What they tend to do is take the north, south, east, west, sides of said city and them chunk them off in odd, but slightly less silly ways with the stuff outside the city that is next to them. But they still tend to be heavy on the D votes doing this, as immediate suburbs tend to be closer to 50/50 and instantly far less dense.

              There are more people living within an 5-8 minute drive of my house than in the 2nd biggest city in my state. So it’s hard to work around that.

                1. Correction MD3.

                  1. I love how write in’s beat the Libertarian candidate’s vote tally.

    2. Ordinary never have anything bad to say when Team Blue does it.

      1. Somehow my state of California sends 46 (of a possible 53) Democrats to the House and no one seems to care.

        1. I’m sure some people care: those trying to oust the remaining 7 Republican racists, nazis, misogynists, wreckers, Orangeman lovers, and whatever other terms of hate I’ve neglected to include.

          1. Maryland has been trying to get rid of their last Republican for years. They successfully split the rural panhandle years ago. The Eastern Shore is a holdout.

        2. All the ones that cared have left California – – – –

        3. Somehow California can have a general election with only Democrat candidates and it is good, but if their absurd open primary system returns a general election where a Democrat does not make the cut, it is a travesty.

        4. Yup. Yet STRANGELY ENOUGH, if you look at voting by county, most of the state is Red… Funny that.

          1. Dont forget how the GOP lost almost every race they led in on election night after the harvesting of ballots. When the harvested ballots were counted, Democrats won 15 of 16 undecided races. Yea, that is not suspicious in the least. This is just another attempt by Democrats to change the rules when they cannot win fairly.

    3. God you’re dumb and uneducated. Gerrymandering effects under a dozen races nationally per multiple studies, such as the one by Stanford. The problem is Democrats love corruption so they cluster their voters in small regional urban centers. They win races due to the bubble effect of liberalism. The mob mentality of idiots who talk politics with other idiots only.

    4. So your opposed to Democrats pushing for minority majority districts?

  4. So the presumption in the title is that the Democrats represent women? While there may be a plurality of women who are Dems, I think a substantial number of women will dispute that notion.

    The Left was supportive of gerrymandering until the Democrats lost control of most state legislatures. Funny coincidence, that.

    1. Well, the majority of white women DID vote for the Pussy Grabber In Chief after all!

      So really, it’s just brown women that must be of concern, because all the white ones are traitors to their sex… Or something.

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  6. First North Carolina is not a purple state. Second I think it is hilarous how Democrats fought to maintain gerrymandered districts when they were in control of state legislatures and drawing the maps. Democrats held the entire south for decades during the last century. The change came when the radical leftists from the northeast and west coast began to seize control of Democratic party, drove out conservative Democrats and as a result lost control of many state legislatures, especially across the south. Then suddenly gerrymandering was an evil that could not be permitted to stand. Like voter suppression claims, the whining about gerrymandering is Democrats attempting to use the cournts to win elections they cannot win with the policies, issues and platforms they keep promoting. Voters reject what they are selling but it is not their tired ideas and policies but some evil GOP plot that is the reason for thier failure.

    1. The Democrats have absolutely no principles or scruples with regards to election law. They argue out of both sides of their mouths depending on the reasons why they are winning or losing elections. This would not be so bad if they were called out for it in the news, but they are not.

    2. Plus, there are a butt-ton of Democrats in the South. They are just out-numbered by younger non-Lefties who vote GOP or Libertarian.

      When Districts in the South get close because of demographic changes, those old timer Democrats come out of the woodwork to steal the election.

      Georgia is funny because outside of Fulton County (Atlanta) the Democrat infrastructure to steal elections is not really there. That is one of the reasons that Democrat Stacey Abrams could not steal the Governor election and Barrow could not steal the Secretary of State election.

  7. Sorry activist lady, women don’t cluster in the United States the way you think they do. This isn’t a Muslim majority nation where ‘equal working rights’ means they’ll build you a city just for women so they don’t have to work in the same place the men do.

    1. Although now that I think about it, the same feminist crowd who think the Burqa is ‘freeing women from the male gaze’ are probably the same useful retards who would actually shill for ‘separate but equal’ facilities for women. It’s amazing that when you push that ideology to it’s extreme, it really looks almost identical to religious fundamentalism.

      1. You want to see women shill for some ‘equality’, watch the Netflix show “Reversing Roe”.

        There is shady shit going down by the Pro-Choice and Anti-Abortion sides but the real Primo Statement was that women should have a special right to have abortions because they should control their bodies.

        1) Democrats are still very much against repealing the Controlled Substances Act
        2) Democrats are very much against people deciding what they want to ingest, smoke, eat, or do to their bodies.
        3) Democrats dont want the Natural Right to be in control of your body to apply to men and women.
        4) Democrats want government to subsidize abortions even when many Americans hate abortion.

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  9. “appear to move the debate further from objective, quantifiable judgments and (into) …the arena of politics”

    From what I can see, the radical left and the radical right have always struggled to perceive the difference between their polemics and actual objective facts or law.

  10. I don’t understand the call for districts to be competitive. I mean I do, but it is not clear to me that the objective of creating a district should be that it is competitive. As a geographical area, it seems to me it should make geographical sense. Basically, an urban district should be an urban district and a rural district should be a rural district, so that urban residence get urban representation and rurals get rural representation. There may be other types of geographical areas that represent a different demographic, e.g., suburban, industrial, racial, whatever. I’m not sure they should be deliberately diluted in order to satisfy some dubious ideal like competitiveness.

  11. I don’t understand the call for districts to be competitive. I mean I do, but it is not clear to me that the objective of creating a district should be that it is competitive. As a geographical area, it seems to me it should make geographical sense. Basically, an urban district should be an urban district and a rural district should be a rural district, so that urban residence get urban representation and rurals get rural representation. There may be other types of geographical areas that represent a different demographic, e.g., suburban, industrial, racial, whatever. I’m not sure they should be deliberately diluted in order to satisfy some dubious ideal like competitiveness.

  12. I don’t understand the call for districts to be competitive. I mean I do, but it is not clear to me that the objective of creating a district should be that it is competitive. As a geographical area, it seems to me it should make geographical sense. Basically, an urban district should be an urban district and a rural district should be a rural district, so that urban residence get urban representation and rurals get rural representation. There may be other types of geographical areas that represent a different demographic, e.g., suburban, industrial, racial, whatever. I’m not sure they should be deliberately diluted in order to satisfy some dubious ideal like competitiveness.

  13. I’m not familiar with the Libertarian view of gerrymandering, but I think that redistricting is ultimately a good thing even though it is often labeled incorrectly as gerrymandering. If people self-segregate (like Philadelphia), the idea that surrounding municipalities should suffer their Democrat hell because of a political map is bullshit. Districts shouldn’t be drawn to make races competitive. They should be drawn based on rational and logical subdivisions of geography, socioeconomic status, culture, and other factors. I know there will always be some degree of arbitrary decisions, but like any freedom we enjoy, the abuse of freedom shouldn’t be justification to do away with it entirely.

  14. The “League of Women Voters” lose its way…….only for about the last 100 years.

  15. Gerrymandering is unsolvable except by eliminating elections and selecting legislators by random selection.

  16. Gerrymandering is like porn, I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. Also the losing side in gerrymandering or court ordered redistricting will always see it as giving the winning side a distinct advantage. Best we can hope for is both sides are unhappy, then we know we have it correct.

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