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Fair Voting Districts
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Proposition 77 is coming up for vote in California know, the proposal to put districting in the hands of a non-partisan panel of retired Federal judges.

Well, Kevin Drum is voting against it.

I might be willing to do the right thing and vote for genuine redistricting reform, but I'm sure not going to do it in the service of a stealth effort to permanently gerrymander California in favor of the GOP.

Hmm...okay. For his rationale, he links to this analysis by Brad Plumer. Basically, he doesn't like these guidelines:

  • Judges must maximize the number of whole counties in each district, and minimize the number of multi-district counties.

  • Judges must maximize the number of whole cities in each district, and minimize the number of multi-district cities.

  • Districts must be as compact as practicable. To the extent practicable, a contiguous area of population shall not be bypassed to incorporate an area of population more distant.

He says the end result will be "packing the majority of urban voters into a few concentrated, ultra-Democratic districts." Um, okay. So Plumer apparently wants to carve up cities so that a given city might be in three or four different districts. To what end? I'd be willing to listen to a logical argument about why a city shouldn't be kept intact in a districting scheme, but as far as I can tell Plumer doesn't make that argument.

So what is fair? What is sensible? Is the goal to try to get exactly the same number of each party in each district? Then whoever has higher voter turnout wins?

Seems sensible to me that people grouped geographically have common concerns. The guidelines above have a certain intuitive appeal. I think what's going on here is Plumer and Drum simply don't like the effective outcome, that Republicans will gain more seats.

Prop 77 certainly seems better than the status quo, in which the wolves are guarding the henhouse. If someone has a better suggestion, by all means share.

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