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Redistricting

Transportation Nation

John Mica could Lose District Under Redistricting Proposal

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Rep. John Mica (Photo: John Mica Facebook Page)

Orlando, WMFE) Under a new Florida Senate redistricting proposal released this week, powerful Republican U.S. Representative John Mica -- the chair of the House Transportation Committee --  could be drawn out of his current 7th District seat, which currently runs from just north of Orlando to just south of Jacksonville.

Mica is based in the small but wealthy city of Winter Park, north of Orlando. The new plan removes Mica’s portion of Winter Park from the 7th District and places the entire city within Florida's 24th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Republican  Congresswoman Sandy Adams.

Mica’s district would still cover large portions of Volusia, Flagler, and St. Johns Counties.  The Florida House is expected to release its version of the new map next week. State lawmakers will finalize the new district maps during January’s legislative session. Both chambers are controlled by the GOP, and both the State Senate President and House Speaker are from central Florida.

Mica's office says he's reserving comment until after the legislature decides on the final maps.

Read more about the Florida Senate proposal here.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process Is Political: Occupy Taking It to Obama

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street will protest a high-dollar Obama fundraiser in Manhattan this week. A look at retirement and redistricting: Rep. Barney Frank in 2011 and Rep. Tom DeLay in 2006. And while Republicans campaign on Obama's "job-killing regulations," NPR stops to look at exactly how a White House office has been treating regulations, and finds Obama's doing more tweaking than Bush did. 

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WNYC News

Group Asks Judge to Oversee NY Redistricting

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A group of civic leaders has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to take over the process of redrawing the boundaries of New York's congressional districts.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process Is Political: Targeting Gov. Walker in Wisconsin

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A week after the repeal win for collective bargaining in Ohio, Democrats and unions start collecting signatures in a recall effort against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Republicans and county governments are in court in South Carolina over who's responsible for covering the costs of the presidential primary in January.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

NY Redistricting Battles

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dick Dadey, executive director of public interest watchdog Citizen's Union, and Angelo Falcón, president and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy, talk about the redistricting fight heating up in Albany.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Transparency and Obama Supporters' Lobbying Ties

Monday, October 31, 2011

Obama "Transparent" About Bundlers: After the New York Times reported last week that donors with clear ties to lobbying are among President Obama campaign donation bundlers — in violation of the spirit of the president's pledge not to take money from lobbyists — Obama campaign strategist argued that ...

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The Empire

Governor Cuomo: 'I will veto the lines'

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

Governor Andrew Cuomo is stating in no uncertain terms that he intends to veto the redistricting lines now being devised by a joint legislative commission. The governor said he will not endorse the new district lines currently being drawn by a joint legislative commission.

“My position is I will veto the lines that are drawn. I believe it should be done by an independent commission," Cuomo said.

The governor acknowledges that a veto would be “chaotic”, and says the legislature should “seriously consider” joining him to create an independent commission.

The governor says he has no plans, though, to call the legislature back before January unless there’s agreement on a structure for the commission. But the governor says time is getting short.

“The clock is ticking," said Cuomo.

The governor also said he doubts the legislature has the votes to override a veto on redistricting.

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The Empire

New York voters want independent redistricting: Quinnipiac

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More than three-quarters of New York voters polled in a new Quinnipiac University survey say they want an independent commission, with little to no legislative input, to draw new political lines. According to the poll, 48 percent said they wanted a completely independent commission drawing lines, while 28 percent said one with some legislative input was prefered.

A plurality of those polled--45 percent--said Governor Andrew Cuomo should make good on his promise of vetoing lines drawn by state legislators. Nearly a quarter of respondents weren't sure.

Interestingly support for the veto has been falling from a 49 percent high back in August.

In terms of how lines should be drawn, 53 percent said they want districts to be drawn without taking the incumbent into account. The only group polled that disagreed? African Americans, who, by a plurality of 47 percent, felt lines should be drawn to protect incumbents.

When it comes to drawing districts that take race and ethnicity into account--something we've been writing about--those polled were vehemently against the idea, with 72 percent of respondents saying districts shouldn't be based on racial or ethnic requirements. Among black voters, a majority--50 percent--agreed.

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WNYC News

NJ Redistricting Pits Longtime Political Heavyweight Against Newcomer

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Redistricting in New Jersey has caused some long-time politicians — including Democratic heavyweight former Governor Dick Codey — to work harder to keep their seats ahead of the election next month.

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The Empire

Latino redistricting efforts through the lens of a (Latino-less) mayoral field

Monday, October 17, 2011

We've been talking a lot about the redistricting process, and, specifically, how community activists are pushing for more racial and ethnic "majority minority" state legislative seats (and maybe even Federal).

Looking through that lens at City Hall's Laura Nahmias's piece on the dearth of Latino contenders in 2013, and you can see another reason advocates will cite in their case for giving Latinos communities more weight in more districts. As Laura's source says:

“The ‘wait your turn’ game of Democratic politics hurts the community’s possibility of growth in Latino leadership,” said political commentator Gerson Borrero, who said the city hadn’t had a reputable candidate since Fernando Ferrer won the Democratic primary for mayor in 2005.

But, of course, an increase of downstate Latino members of the Senate and Assembly doesn't necessarily mean more Latino mayoral candidates--or even a Latino mayor. But, as the proponents for more Latino majority districts point out, providing Latino communities with more outlets could be a shot in the arm to the city's undersized Latino political community.

That being said, this might be the most telling paragraph of the piece and a strategy that continues to cut against the race-based policies of yore:

Some Latino politicians said that while representation was crucial, the city would benefit from any minority or strong progressive Democrat winning in citywide office. Candidates such as Comptroller John Liu and Councilwoman Letitia James, who are seen as potential candidates for mayor and public advocate, respectively, share political positions with some Latino politicians on issues like immigration or poverty.

That being said, as specifically Asian and Latino groups push for more political representation, it's worth examining the politics behind this sort of rainbow coalition strategy.

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The Empire

Is a 40 percent Asian Congressional district in Queens possible?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One of the main issues being discussed during redistricting is providing communities of interest--often meaning, in short hand, racial and ethnic groups--with political boundaries that give these under-served groups greater influence over who represents them.

Last week a coalition of social justice groups released draft maps for the state legislature seats here in the city. Asian and Latino-majority districts were carved out for both the Assembly and State Senate, while existing African American districts were kept intact. Today Common Cause, who has been pushing this issue, has an op-ed in El Diario on the need for more majority Latino districts.

"Where the lines are drawn have the power to influence whether a particular neighborhood or community will be able to elect the representative of their choice," Susan Lerner, the group's executive director, wrote in the English version. "Communities that are divided among several districts – as neighborhoods with large numbers of Latinos have been in current and previous district maps - find it harder to gather the voting strength to make a difference at the polls."

At the Congressional level there have been pushes to create both a Latino--predominately Dominican--Congressional district in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx. There has also been speculation that a 40 percent Asian district could be created in Queens.

We decided to see if that was possible. John Keefe, our map wizard at WNYC, dug through census data to carve out what would be a 40.3 percent Asian district.

A few things. First, race can't be the only thing used to create a political map, per Federal rules. This was the specific thing we were looking to do, and did our best to keep the district as condensed as possible. Still, as you can see, it's not the most visually pleasing map. Other groups working on maps they plan to submit to LATFOR, the legislative group drawing the lines, say it's possible to create a 40 percent Asian district that is more tightly constructed.

But what the map does illustrate is that it's possible to create such a district. More importantly, the Asian community in Queens is currently having their political potency spread over four different Congressional districts.

Steve Choi, executive director of MinKwon--an Asian American community group located in Flushing, Queens--took a look at the map. His group is creating their own, and he was particularly concerned about the push into Jackson Heights and Elmhurst area because of the Latino population there that would itself be diluted if only the Asian population was considered. He said they're working to create a unity map with other organizations to help preserve political strength across the various ethnic and racial communities.

Still, the exercise helped prove Choi and other activists' point. "The basic concept is that you can have a [Congressional] district that is 40 percent Asian American in Queens," he said.

The long-time exclusion of Asians in the political process has driven Choi and others to use this opportunity to push for better districts. "I don't think it's a stretch to say we have historically been disenfranchised just as many other minority communities in the state have been," he said.

While LATFOR hasn't been, in Choi's mind, particularly embracing of the push to create more Asian districts--he said the committee has said it is focusing on "the current political realities"--he feels the time is right for political lines to be drawn with his community in mind.

"It's realistic, it's possible, and its necessary to draw these districts in a way that's going to include our influence," he said, noting that he and other groups are keeping all options on the table--including litigation--to make that happen.

Next up: we'll be looking at the 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn and what it will need to take to keep the Federally protected African American population in the district at the levels it what was in 2000, despite major demographic shifts over the last decade.

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It's A Free Country ®

New Jersey with Governor Christie

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Politics, like budgeting, is about managing expectations. So what he’s doing is he’s dialing back the expectations.

—  WNYC senior reporter Bob Hennelly, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Alleging Voter Fraud in WV Special Election

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Democrat wins special election West Virginia, and Republican leader alleges voter fraud. Minnesota's news disclosure rules for groups spending on ballot questions. And Arizona Republicans feel burned by redistricted map drawn up by independent commission.  

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Bloomberg Testimony, Where to Count Prisoners

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Our daily look at the details that can change everything.

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The Empire

Using the "C" word, Cuomo softens his position on redistricting

Friday, September 30, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio Capitol Bureau Chief

Courtesy of the Governor's office.

Governor Andrew Cuomo floated a possible alternative to his veto threat today, saying there may be room for a “compromise” in the congressional and legislative lines being drawn by Democrats and Republicans.

The governor has said for months that he would veto new redistricting lines that are not drawn in an independent, non-partisan manner. Despite that threat, the legislature has gone ahead with its traditional bipartisan task force that draws up new political boundaries every ten years.

Now, the governor says that, while the legislature’s process to redraw the lines is “flawed by design”, perhaps an agreement could be reached to avert the veto.

“To the extent that there is a situation where people would want to compromise, fine,” said Cuomo. “And I think there are conversations that are going on now.”

The veto option would plunge the redistricting process into the courts, a scenario Cuomo says could cause “chaos and confusion." But he says he won’t go back on his pledge, and will not accept gerrymandered districts.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Like All These New Campaign Ads? Thank Justice Alito

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The biggest change to campaign finance law in America: Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. More redistricting maps look to be heading to court, which opens up questions about which judges should decide the questions — and if they have time to do it before the next election. And while Christie basks in national spotlight, Romney and Perry try to dial back fundraising expectations before filing deadline. 

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: A Surprising Win for Kucinich

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looks like Rep. Dennis Kucinich can end his district-shopping, as Ohio's redistricted map looks to have treated him less harshly than he expected. A proposal to change Pennsylvania's electoral college rules away from a winner-take-all approach continues to divide state Republicans. And days after the Department of Justice sent Texas' map back to reconsider its treatment of Latino voters, Los Angeles considers the tipping point of when Latino population growth earns Latino residents another majority district. 

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Christie's National Fundraising Swing

Monday, September 26, 2011

In a break from previous practice, the public gets to see New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's out-of-state fundraising schedule, which comes at a time of intense presidential speculation (again). Who's paying for your new redistricted Congressional map? It's no easy to find out. And it's early, but small donors to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign say they're already planning to sit this one out. 

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The Empire

ICYMI: Redistricting conversation on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brian had me on to talk about redistricting about redistricting. Susan Lerner of Common Cause was on as well, and provided a great point of view on her group's efforts in the looming process.

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It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Judge Orders Review of Hispanic Voting Power in Nevada

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nevada's Hispanic population is up by more than 80 percent, and Democrats and Republicans are arguing about how that should affect the Congressional map. Fundraising limits on recall campaigns reveal true motives of campaign finance reform, argues George Will. Nevada's  And Obama fundraisers go back to school. 

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