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DOJ sues over Texas's redistricting plan


OverSword
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday sued Texas over the state’s new redistricting plan, alleging its map illegally undermines minority groups’ right to vote.

DOJ officials said that while the number of Latino and Black voters in Texas grew significantly over the last decade, the state’s new map dilutes minority voting strength in violation of federal law.

“The department’s career voting law experts have assessed Texas's new redistricting plans and determined that they include districts that violate the Voting Rights Act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.

The legal challenge comes after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in October signed into law a new congressional map that independent analysts say gives Republicans an unfair partisan advantage.

 

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So it seems the DOJ believes that redistricting affects (minority) groups ability to vote as a block or as an interest group?  I don't see how redistricting eliminates anyone's right to vote.

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1 hour ago, OverSword said:

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So it seems the DOJ believes that redistricting affects (minority) groups ability to vote as a block or as an interest group?  I don't see how redistricting eliminates anyone's right to vote.

Stops them being able to vote as a bloc to elect Democrats therefore it’s bad.

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1 hour ago, OverSword said:

So it seems the DOJ believes that redistricting affects (minority) groups ability to vote as a block or as an interest group?  I don't see how redistricting eliminates anyone's right to vote.

Seriously not?

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31 minutes ago, Tatetopa said:

Seriously not?

If you were merged into a different district would that prevent you from voting?

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18 minutes ago, Gromdor said:

Gerrymandering doesn't stop you from voting.  It merely makes your vote irrelevant.

 As noted on balotpedia

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Texas' 38 United States representatives and 181 state legislators are all elected from political divisions called districts. District lines are redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States census. Federal law stipulates that districts must have nearly equal populations and must not discriminate on the basis of race or ethnicity.

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So this happens every 10 years after a census and is nothing new (unlike how the media has been presenting it).  Unless they can show that the redistricting significantly changes the ethnic make-up of minority districts then this is yet more democrat hysterical propaganda.  We all know there is plenty of that.

Edited by OverSword
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7 minutes ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Stops them being able to vote as a bloc to elect Democrats therefore it’s bad.

Just pretend for a moment a momentous vote will be taken that affects all Pacific nations.  Australia get 5 representatives based on their population.  Likewise New Zealand gets 1 representative and Taiwan gets 5 for a total of 11.  Then suppose a clever politician in charge of elections with  interests in Taiwan  helps suggest  the boundaries for representative districts for all 11 reps.   Instead of natural geographical boundaries, the lines are snaked and stretched so that  eight of the districts originate in Taiwan with at least 3 million Taiwanese voters in each and another  2 million from  New Zealand and Australia.  Fair is fair, all 11 districts have 5 million voters. After much touting of a  fair and free election with great voter ID and no possible fraud,  Taiwan winds up with 8 reps and Australia and New Zealand with 3.  If that clever politician  wanted to skew it a little further just to make sure, he would declare that voting day is not a holiday, there is no early or mail in voting and the majority of voting machines will be located at the center of each district, 8 in Taiwan for every 3 in Australia and New Zealand. 

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2 minutes ago, Tatetopa said:

Just pretend for a moment a momentous vote will be taken that affects all Pacific nations.  Australia get 5 representatives based on their population.  Likewise New Zealand gets 1 representative and Taiwan gets 5 for a total of 11.  Then suppose a clever politician in charge of elections with  interests in Taiwan  helps suggest  the boundaries for representative districts for all 11 reps.   Instead of natural geographical boundaries, the lines are snaked and stretched so that  eight of the districts originate in Taiwan with at least 3 million Taiwanese voters in each and another  2 million from  New Zealand and Australia.  Fair is fair, all 11 districts have 5 million voters. After much touting of a  fair and free election with great voter ID and no possible fraud,  Taiwan winds up with 8 reps and Australia and New Zealand with 3.  If that clever politician  wanted to skew it a little further just to make sure, he would declare that voting day is not a holiday, there is no early or mail in voting and the majority of voting machines will be located at the center of each district, 8 in Taiwan for every 3 in Australia and New Zealand. 

And you know this is happening in Texas?  I guess we'll find out.  I'm betting not.

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1 hour ago, OverSword said:

And you know this is happening in Texas?  I guess we'll find out.  I'm betting not.

Both parties have been doing it since Shep was a pup or at least since I was a kid. In Oregon here the Republicans are contesting the Democratic redrawing of districts with some justification.  It may go to court.  I am not sure about Texas, like you, I am just betting.

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1 minute ago, Tatetopa said:

Both parties have been doing it since Shep was a pup or at least since I was a kid. In Oregon here the Republicans are contesting the Democratic redrawing of districts with some justification.  It may go to court.  I am not sure about Texas, like you, I am just betting.

I just think that in the current political climate everyone would be expecting things like this to be under a microscope and can't imagine that while every move you make is challenged and the other ridiculous move made by the Texas senate democrats a few months back, hiding in DC to avoid performing the duties of their offices that I take any accusations of those drama queens with much faith at all.  

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1 minute ago, OverSword said:

I just think that in the current political climate everyone would be expecting things like this to be under a microscope and can't imagine that while every move you make is challenged and the other ridiculous move made by the Texas senate democrats a few months back, hiding in DC to avoid performing the duties of their offices that I take any accusations of those drama queens with much faith at all.  

It is how the game is played. The winner is not always determined by standing toe to toe and trading punches, sometimes the rules allow for guile and strategy.  Consider the filibuster.  It is a delaying tactic too.  It is legal and included in the bag of tricks.  These days, they only have to say they are going to filibuster, not actually do it.  It would be like the Texas senators only needing to say they will leave the state  to halt progress. Oregon Republicans split rather than let a vote on climate change happen. They are a minority but prevented a measure from coming to vote during the session. Drama is a part of politics and so is victimhood when logic and responsibility are scarce. And they always seem to be when politicians get together.

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

I looked into the whole gerrymandering issue a couple of years ago, it honestly did my head in! How on earth did you Americans institute a system whereby those in political power and who benefit directly from rezoning districts are the ones responsible for rezoning? Add into the mix a bunch of other complex issues and the whole thing is a PR nightmare waiting to happen at best, and a system ripe for abuse at worst.

How do you fairly split districts when no matter how it's drawn someone will complain that it's unfairly benefiting someone!?!?! Especially when you never know how a district is going to vote (in some districts 30% minority representation can be enough to swing votes, while in other districts even a 50% minority split may not guarantee the number of votes). And in other districts people are intentionally moving to areas where people have similar political views, and thus diluting the power of their vote since this naturally means these voters are removing themselves from the voting pool of other districts.  

 

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43 minutes ago, Paranoid Android said:

I looked into the whole gerrymandering issue a couple of years ago, it honestly did my head in! How on earth did you Americans institute a system whereby those in political power and who benefit directly from rezoning districts are the ones responsible for rezoning? Add into the mix a bunch of other complex issues and the whole thing is a PR nightmare waiting to happen at best, and a system ripe for abuse at worst.

How do you fairly split districts when no matter how it's drawn someone will complain that it's unfairly benefiting someone!?!?! Especially when you never know how a district is going to vote (in some districts 30% minority representation can be enough to swing votes, while in other districts even a 50% minority split may not guarantee the number of votes). And in other districts people are intentionally moving to areas where people have similar political views, and thus diluting the power of their vote since this naturally means these voters are removing themselves from the voting pool of other districts.  

 

Break all states in to grids.  The larger the state population, the smaller the grid size as more voting locations would be needed.  Look at the way these people draw the lines on the map..both parties.  It's absolutely ridiculous.  

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3 hours ago, OverSword said:

 As noted on balotpedia

Link

So this happens every 10 years after a census and is nothing new (unlike how the media has been presenting it).  Unless they can show that the redistricting significantly changes the ethnic make-up of minority districts then this is yet more democrat hysterical propaganda.  We all know there is plenty of that.

You of all people living in Washington should know how little your vote counts when you are clumped in with a bunch of people with the opposite ideals.  

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3 hours ago, Tatetopa said:

Just pretend for a moment a momentous vote will be taken that affects all Pacific nations.  Australia get 5 representatives based on their population.  Likewise New Zealand gets 1 representative and Taiwan gets 5 for a total of 11.  Then suppose a clever politician in charge of elections with  interests in Taiwan  helps suggest  the boundaries for representative districts for all 11 reps.   Instead of natural geographical boundaries, the lines are snaked and stretched so that  eight of the districts originate in Taiwan with at least 3 million Taiwanese voters in each and another  2 million from  New Zealand and Australia.  Fair is fair, all 11 districts have 5 million voters. After much touting of a  fair and free election with great voter ID and no possible fraud,  Taiwan winds up with 8 reps and Australia and New Zealand with 3.  If that clever politician  wanted to skew it a little further just to make sure, he would declare that voting day is not a holiday, there is no early or mail in voting and the majority of voting machines will be located at the center of each district, 8 in Taiwan for every 3 in Australia and New Zealand. 

There is a  lot more nations in the region then that, and a nation as defined within its nationhood by UN convention should get one vote per nation in a wider inter-nation Congress. 

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Just now, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

There is a  lot more nations in the region then that, and a nation as defined within its nationhood by UN convention should get one vote per nation in a wider inter-nation Congress. 

But then that wouldn't be an example of the US gerrymandering system...

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Just now, Gromdor said:

But then that wouldn't be an example of the US gerrymandering system...

Then what’s your point? It whooshed over my head. 
Everyone gerrymanders, it’s part of the privilege of being in power. 

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·
1 hour ago, Agent0range said:

Break all states in to grids.  The larger the state population, the smaller the grid size as more voting locations would be needed.  Look at the way these people draw the lines on the map..both parties.  It's absolutely ridiculous.  

That would still split up voting blocs into geographic grids. Don't get me wrong, it might be a slightly better system than the current one, but only slightly. There is no guarantee that a blind grid would be any fairer than the current system. You might still end up dumping all the minority voters into a small number of districts, and we're right back at square one. I don't know if there's a better solution than the one that currently exists, but it's nowhere near as simple a problem as just splitting the city into a grid. 

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52 minutes ago, Paranoid Android said:

That would still split up voting blocs into geographic grids. Don't get me wrong, it might be a slightly better system than the current one, but only slightly. There is no guarantee that a blind grid would be any fairer than the current system. You might still end up dumping all the minority voters into a small number of districts, and we're right back at square one. I don't know if there's a better solution than the one that currently exists, but it's nowhere near as simple a problem as just splitting the city into a grid. 

Not just a city in to a grid...but that grid square would also fan out into the suburbs and rural areas.  If you take a state like texas, and break it up in to 40 grid squares, those squares would be large enough where a city like Dallas would cover some rural areas as well.  As they are drawn now, you have districts that look like a person playing Twister.  It would make it fair, and would not allow for party intervention...which I think is the overall goal of rational people.

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·
37 minutes ago, Agent0range said:

Not just a city in to a grid...but that grid square would also fan out into the suburbs and rural areas.  If you take a state like texas, and break it up in to 40 grid squares, those squares would be large enough where a city like Dallas would cover some rural areas as well.  As they are drawn now, you have districts that look like a person playing Twister.  It would make it fair, and would not allow for party intervention...which I think is the overall goal of rational people.

It's admittedly been a while since I studied up on gerrymandering, but aren't there a whole bunch of rules to follow, such as each district having roughly equal numbers of people? Would a grid adequately address that? How would a grid format account for minority voters often congregating into same geographic areas, and therefore causing dilution to minority representation? 

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4 hours ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

There is a  lot more nations in the region then that, and a nation as defined within its nationhood by UN convention should get one vote per nation in a wider inter-nation Congress. 

Yes of course, I was stretching it.  Then imagine  Taiwan represents  conservative Tarant  County in Texas,  around the Dallas Ft. Worth area with some rural land and small towns south.    Australia and New Zealand represent liberal Harris County around Houston and some rural land and small towns north .This time, it is the Republicans  that get to draw the lines  If lines get drawn spaghetti-like south from Tarant County they can make districts that  are certain to include a majority of Republican voters even stretching as far as the outskirts of Houston.  If they include the requisite number of voters  in each district they could produce three Republican majority districts and one Democratic one rather than city by city with  two each. Party in power also has control of how many and where voting machines are located in precincts. 

Thank God there is no more racism in the US.   In the old days of my youth,  a majority black or Hispanic precinct might get three machines and a white precinct of the same size  got eleven.  Imagine the lines that caused at those precincts.  Election day is not a holiday and back in the old days of my memory, Blacks and Hispanics along with many whites were blue collar labor paid by the hour.  They had to take time off to vote.  That becomes even more of a hardship for those living paycheck to paycheck. 

Precinct polling places were set by the election committee too.  I have voted in grade schools, a library,  a VFW hall and a church over the years. If the polling place is at a grade school or library on a bus line, people that depend on public transportation can get there more easily.  If the polling place is a church 15 blocks through an unfamiliar neighborhood from the nearest bus stop  it makes voting more difficult for low income people. 

There was also a poll tax of $2.00 when I was young in 1967 and the minimum wage was $1.40.  Poll Tax has since then been made illegal.  I was too young to vote then but I could go in and stand with my dad or mom when they voted and see the process.

In the days since the civil rights act, policy makers could not target  Blacks or Hispanics by race, but they could set up districts, precincts, and polling places to discourage low income voters of all races and happen to catch a majority of Black and Hispanic voters along with the poor white people that worked minimum wage jobs.

There still seems to be a pretty strong feeling in some of the US that poor people shouldn't vote because they would ask for things to benefit themselves.  That is the prerogative of the middle and upper class.

 

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7 hours ago, Sir Wearer of Hats said:

Then what’s your point? It whooshed over my head. 
Everyone gerrymanders, it’s part of the privilege of being in power. 

And that is the issue. gerrymandering is basically an American thing, you don't hear about this in other western democracies (they might occur but usually bot to the US levels).

For me this and the winner takes all approach (electoral college) plus a basically 2 parties system is what us creating fractures in the US population. You guys have a crappy system, how on Earth can a candidate for presidency win without actually even a simple voting majority? 

Yeap we all have problems but US seems to go overboard

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Maybe DOJ will sue the state of Oregon, whom passed bold gerrymandered zones to exclude all Republicans, even though Rs make up about 40-45% of voters.

Everyone thinks Oregon is a sea of liberal Democrats. But the bold Reps and Senators, are so bold due to unbreakable gerrymandering. 

https://www.opb.org/article/2021/11/30/oregons-new-congressional-map-is-now-final/

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With the court outcomes, political maps passed solely by Democrats will stand for the next decade, barring a call by Oregon voters to redraw the maps using a different process. Under the plans, the party is expected to maintain healthy majorities in the statehouse, and to retain control of at least four of Oregon’s congressional districts in the near term.

 

Edited by DieChecker
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10 hours ago, Paranoid Android said:

I looked into the whole gerrymandering issue a couple of years ago, it honestly did my head in! How on earth did you Americans institute a system whereby those in political power and who benefit directly from rezoning districts are the ones responsible for rezoning? Add into the mix a bunch of other complex issues and the whole thing is a PR nightmare waiting to happen at best, and a system ripe for abuse at worst.

How do you fairly split districts when no matter how it's drawn someone will complain that it's unfairly benefiting someone!?!?! Especially when you never know how a district is going to vote (in some districts 30% minority representation can be enough to swing votes, while in other districts even a 50% minority split may not guarantee the number of votes). And in other districts people are intentionally moving to areas where people have similar political views, and thus diluting the power of their vote since this naturally means these voters are removing themselves from the voting pool of other districts.  

 

And now you know why, despite pretty much everybody hating the GOP, they manage to cling to power despite having maybe a third of the vote. 

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