Presentation on theme: "Congressional, Senatorial and Delegate Redistricting."— Presentation transcript:
Congressional, Senatorial and Delegate Redistricting
What is Redistricting? Once per decade, every state in the country re-draws its districts for Congress, state legislatures and local government. At the most basic level, redistricting ensures that about the same number of people live in each district and, as a result, that each person is equally represented in our government.
In past cycles, legislative districts have often reflected sophisticated calculations executed in the back-room far from the public eye. The resulting districts often split cohesive communities and produce legislatures that neither meaningfully represent constituents, nor reflect the diversity and views of the public. In contrast, an open and transparent redistricting process can help ensure that those who are elected actually serve citizens. Sunlight will inspire confidence in a process and outcome recognized as fair.
Members of Congress and state legislators are elected from districts; at least once per decade, the district lines are redrawn, block by block. In most states, these legislative district lines are drawn by the legislators themselves. The way the lines are drawn can keep a community together or split it apart, leaving it without a representative who feels responsible for its concerns. The way the lines are drawn can change who wins an election. Ultimately, the way the lines are drawn can change who controls the legislature, and which laws get passed. Redistricting matters.
Reapportionment is the process of using a state’s population to decide how many representatives it gets. Redistricting is the process of redrawing legislative district lines. Gerrymandering is the process of redrawing district lines to increase unduly a group’s political power.
In 1911 and 1929, Congress passed laws that ultimately fixed the number of House seats at 435.4 Now, each state gets a portion of the 435 seats, depending on its population.
Before the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, Redistricting impacted some of the new country’s Founders directly. For example, Patrick Henry, who opposed the new Constitution, tried to draw district lines to deny a seat in the first Congress to James Madison – the Constitution’s primary author. Henry made sure that Madison’s district was drawn to include counties that were more likely to oppose him. The attempt failed, and Madison was elected – but the American gerrymander had begun.
Constitutional US House of Representatives 1.Every Ten Years Following Census 2.Has always been at least one per state and proportionate to population West Virginia Legislature 1.Proportional only since 1964 2.“One person One Vote” decision in Reynolds v Sims
When? In Special Session later this year Public Hearing Wood County- City Building, this Wednesday, June 15, 7:00PM to 8:30PM
Redistricting Reform Advocates 1.Greater Transparency ---Publish proposed maps in advance --Internet More Public Participation ----Allow public to comment --Conduct Public Hearings --House should follow Senate’s lead
Redistricting Ideals Community of interest Geographic Compactness Respect Political Boundaries Racial Fairness Equal Population: vary NMT 5-10% NB Continuity and political advantage are generally not factors
County Census Info Greatest growth in eastern panhandle Greatest loss in Southern West Virginia
US House Retain three districts Each should contain 618,000 people Estimates: --1 st (McKinley) should be increased by c 10,000 + --2 nd (Capito) should be reduced by 33,000 + --3 rd (Rahall) should be increased by 23,000 +
WV Senate Pre-1964 16 Districts 2 with staggered terms No Equal Representation, e.g. 1962: --2 nd District (Three Counties): 74,384 people --8 th District (Kanawha County): 252,925 people
WV Senate Districts 17 Districts 2 Members Each 34 Members Total Elected for Staggered 4 year terms Each District Should Contain c. 106,000 people Each District Under New Census Should Contain c. 109,000 people
US Senator Joe Manchin “I believe the time has come for single member districts. The Delegate would be more attentive and know that area much better than they would in a multi-member district. So is it better to service the citizens and the taxpayers? Absolutely. ” (Daily Mail January 3, 2011)
Acting Sen. President Jeff Kessler “ It’s something that I feel really strong about that you should have equal representation throughout the state. You should have access to a representative who lives among you and truly represents you.” (Daily Mail, January 3, 2011)
Acting Sen. President Jeff Kessler “It smells of backroom deals to try to line up districts so that people stay in, and that’s just wrong” (Daily Mail January 3, 2011)
Earl Ray Tomblin “Both Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, the acting governor and Democratic candidate for governor, and businessman Bill Maloney, the Republican candidate, both support single- member districts, though only one has the power of veto.”Earl Ray Tomblin (West Virginia Watchdog, May 31,2011)
Bill Maloney Would Veto To Get Single-Member Districts “said he would veto any redistricting plan that doesn’t include all single-member districts in the House of Delegates” “West Virginians don’t want closed door debates or backroom deals. The legislature must allow the public to review any proposals, inspect any district maps, and comment on anything and everything before any decisions are made. Transparency is non-negotiable,” Maloney said. “The legislature must also steer clear of partisan politics when it comes to congressional redistricting,” Maloney added. “The current congressional districts should remain largely intact to ensure that no gerrymandering occurs.” (WVaRed May 31, 2011)
House of Delegates Pre-1964 100 members 55 Districts – each County a District At least one Delegate from each County Additional Delegates for some Counties Genesis of our current hodgepodge system No Equal Representation Pre 1962: --Hancock County – (1 Delegate) 39,615 people --Wirt County – (1 Delegate) 4,391 people --Kanawha County – (11 Delegates) 252,925 people
House of Delegates 100 Members All elected every 2 years Each Delegate should represent c. 18,500
Current House of Delegates 100 members from 58 Districts 1 Member 36 Districts 36 Members 2 Members 11 Districts 22 Members 3 Members 6 Districts 18 Members 4 Members 3 Districts 12 Members 5 Members 1 District 5 Members 7 Members 1 District 7 Members Total 58 Districts 100 Members
Only 10 States have more than one member in a District
Only 3 States have more than 2 members in a District
Only 2 States have more than 3 members in a District
Why Single Member Districts? Equal treatment throughout the state Cheaper Campaign Costs – less entry barrier --$4500 or $31,500 Eliminate Party Squabbles in General Election Eliminate Political “Anachronism”(def: the representation of a person, in a historical context in which it could not have existed) - Federal Law has required single member CDs since 1842 Closer to the people Accountability (division as alternative/adjunct) Gaining Support
Hand Out Jeff Becker’s 100 single member district plan. While one might argue to move the lines a little here or there, Mr. Becker has proven that it is possible to draw 100 single member delegate districts in a fair and even-handed fashion so as to not advantage either major party.
The strengths of single-member districts rest in the close ties between representatives and constituents, the accountability of representatives to the voters, and constituency service. Because single-member districts are used in conjunction with plurality or majority voting rules, they are also said to foster strong and stable government.
Public Hearing Wood County- City Building, this Wednesday, June 15, 7:00PM to 8:30PM
VOTER INPUT We have transparency, will we use it?