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The Process is Political: Redistricting Clashes in Texas and New York

Monday, September 19, 2011

map showing the red sweep around the country in congressional races

Our daily look at the details that can change everything.

Texas GOP Circumvent Obama Justice Dept on Redistricting: The Texas AG has filed a lawsuit to bypass the required Justice Department approval of Texas' redistricting plan, so a special three judge panel will review the plan instead of the usual route of Justice giving its okay that the new boundaries conform to the requirements of the Voting Rights Act.

Latino groups are complaining that the Republicans' redistricting plan does not do enough to reflect the growth of the Latino population, which helped earn Texas four extra Congressional seats after the 2010 census. NPR's Carrie Johnson also points out that this is the first time since the Johnson administration since a Democratic administration has been in charge in Washington during redistricting. (NPR

The Problem with Divvying Up Electoral College Results: Nate Silver at The New York Times takes a look at a proposal in Pennsylvania to abandon the winner-take-all approach to winning the swing state and instead divide up most electoral votes by Congressional districts. It makes for a scenario where "it's quite plausible that a candidate could win the popular vote there but lose most of its electoral votes," Silver writes, and he argues that it could hurt Republicans as well as Democrats.

Maine and Nebraska already divvy up their electoral vote spoils, but Silver doesn't hold out much hope that Pennsylvania will actually follow. "The argument that Pennsylvania has been made less influential in determining the next president will tend to carry the day, he said. (New York Times)

Shifting Redistricting Politics in New York: Despite Gov. Cuomo's pledge to "veto lines that are not drawn by an independent commission," the Wall Street Journal reports that momentum may be shifting away from a focus on not the who, but how, on new district boundaries. Part of the issue is time -- the clock is winding down to get a bill passed that would allow for the process to be in place by the 2012 elections.

The other issue is the Republican-controlled state Senate. Common Cause is planning push this week for less politicized maps, and is drawing up their own maps to show what "fair, nonpoliticized" districts might look like if they tracked boundaries of communities and neighborhoods. (Wall Street Journal)

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