Guest Commentary: Redistricting 1st Draft Incompetence

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by Tom Miller

The first draft of the citizen’s redistricting commission’s plans for the next 10 years of California voting came out anything but equal. Here are the proposed federal divisions, showing he numbers the commission does not make easily available, sorted first by North to South, then, if needed, West to East: https://www.scribd.com/document/536272934/California-1st-Draft-Gerrymander-2021 Comments begin November 2, 2021.

The state legislative proposals are equally disproportionate in numbers. As the commission did not make these numbers easily available, I have done so to reveal the disparities in the federal plan. (see 1st draft sort 2: https://www.scribd.com/document/536274071/California-Redistricting-1st-Draft-Sort-2 ). We see size of district disparities from 4.98% low (nearly 38,000 people) to 4.78% high (over 36,000 people).

We see far more drastic disparities when we compare voting age populations (see 1st draft sort 1: https://www.scribd.com/document/536274594/California-Redistricting-St-Draft-Sort-1 ), from 25.01% low (over 122,500 people) to 19.8% high (over 97,000 people), for a difference of almost 200,000 potential voters compared to the state average (64.48%) of about 490,000 voters in each district of 760,000 people.

The job of the commission is to equally allocate the representation by population. Voting age is not specified, and changes geographically, most notably as large non-rural centers have proportionately more children per area. It is expected that such discrepancies change over time as populations age and relocate. The representatives elected from these districts must serve the needs of all of their constituents whether they are of age to vote or not.

Some might see gerrymander in these proposed districts. Currently, California has 44.8% registered voters in the Democratic Party, 24.1% registered Republicans, and 23.3% no party preference. (see https://www.ppic.org/publication/california-voter-and-party-profiles/ ). Why 5 republicans, 5 democrats, and 4 non-partisans?

The commission was established on ‘two-party rule’ disproportionate to actual registered voters, to perpetuate the illusion of two-party dominance that does not reflect California. I addressed this problem previously to remove partisanship from such re-districting by suggesting state-spanning districts, each containing a pair of opposite borders, rural and urban sectors, and voting age populations more representative of their far reach.

All the commissioners would be able to do is choose the angle of the parallel borders between districts, leaving contiguous districts with linear borders. I have listened to whiny politicians from the municipal level to the Congress argue that their neighbor needs to vote in the same district as them, and if they don’t, then all difficulties will occur, such as a city needing to deal with 2 assembly people instead of one, or a County supervisor having to deal with two state senators instead of one. Oh my!

That portends prohibitive layers of bureaucracy beyond our ability to elect competent representation! What a false claim! I personally do not care if my next door neighbor has a different city councilmember, County supervisor, state assemblyperson, state senator, or congressman. The ONLY people I ever hear make such a complaint are those running for office, never those voting for officials. See Anti-Gerrymander: https://www.scribd.com/document/519917785/Anti-Gerrymander

I see incompetence. Explain how 37,000 people were added or subtracted to make the lines work. Over 80% of California’s 1500+ cities have populations smaller than this! That is over 1200 entire cities! Explain how a nearly 200,000 voter difference between districts happened. Compare NORTHSANM to CENTRALLA. Compare NORTHCONT to WSAC-SAC.

We only have a few weeks to look at these in public hearings, so I hope these numbers I have accumulated for your inspection help to illustrate the gross disparities. It is a much larger task to do the same for the state assembly and senate districts proposed, but I suspect a similar incompetent effort. These commissioners have had a long time to come up with such a fiasco, and we are only given a few weeks to correct their incompetence.

Tom Miller is from Davis, CA

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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