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Gerrymandering

Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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12/27/2009 2:45:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
What's your view on this process? Is it something than can be tolerated? Is it something that needs to be stopped? How much do you think it affects representation in the legislatures? Not just with party representation, but demographically speaking as well?

I'm wholly against this process, for any party. I find it would seem to skew what should be actual representation that is built with effort and connection. The fact that ridings are built around party representation is frankly disgusting, and it should be stomped out wherever it rears its ugly head.

Now, in Canada, we don't have as major an issue with gerrymandering as the US seems to. Our electoral districts are created by non-partisan agencies, and they build them around population and demographics, instead of voting trends. That doesn't mean gerrymandering never happens, though.

The best example I know of, even noted by the Wiki article on gerrymandering, is about 8 ridings in a Western province called Saskatchewan. These ridings are all centered around the two largest cities in the province, and make what is called a 'cracked' district, whereby a voting trend within a city is offset by a voting trend in the suburbs/rural areas.

For example: http://www.the506.com...

This is the four electoral districts surrounding Regina. The shades of blue represents the Conservative Party, shades of red = Liberals, and orange = NDP. As you can see, the city of Regina itself - shown in the inset - is heavily NDP (and one part Liberal, which is actually just a personal vote). Yet, 3 of the 4 districts are Conservative, while one is Liberal by virtue of its member.

In fact, the entire province in the last election voted something like 50% Conservative, 25% NDP, and 14% Liberal - yet the Conservatives won 13 seats, the Liberals 1, and the NDP none. This is mostly because the districts where the NDP vote is strongest are gerrymandered as to not allow any NDP candidate a win.

So, yeah - I find it ridiculous. How about you?
MikeLoviN
Posts: 746
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12/27/2009 11:08:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Of course it's ridiculous. However, I also think it's inevitable since I don't imagine it being particularly easy to ensure that every single electoral region or riding is inherently 'neutral' so to speak. Plus, as long as it's the NDP that's getting the shortest end of the stick, I have no complaints ... jks :P
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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12/27/2009 11:27:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I find it would seem to skew what should be actual representation that is built with effort and connection.
...Wat?

I thought Gerrymandering was when legislatures take the effort of connecting geographic areas into favorable voting regions.

And don't say "You know what I mean," because, um, I don't. Probably has some relation to not believing in "representation" of course, but either way, I don't know what you mean.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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12/27/2009 11:30:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/27/2009 11:11:51 PM, wjmelements wrote:
http://www.debate.org...

Thanks for the plug!

What do you propose be done instead of gerrymandering along partisan lines? As I attempt to show in the above debate, competitive districts are less representative and more susceptible to rapid changes in public passions than a system of gerrymandering whereby like-minded voters are packed into homogeneous districts.

Competitive districts lead to a larger proportion of unrepresented and unhappy voters. In such districts, those voting for th losing candidate are usually somewhere around 40-49%. That means that as much as 49% of the district's electorate go unrepresented. In a packed district, this number is much lower.
wjmelements
Posts: 8,206
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12/27/2009 11:39:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
JBlake, I really enjoyed your debate, but I wasn't able to read it in time to vote.

Representation could be better improved with many different methods. While gerrymandering would certainly improve representation, I believe that other reforms would be more efficient. Either:
-Put every politician that receives more than X votes in office. They are given voting power in congress proportional to the amount of votes they received.
OR
-Turning the ballot into a ranking system.
Gerrymandering wins third as an option, but it's not as efficient in achieving its purpose as the above.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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12/27/2009 11:42:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/27/2009 11:27:24 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
I find it would seem to skew what should be actual representation that is built with effort and connection.
...Wat?

I thought Gerrymandering was when legislatures take the effort of connecting geographic areas into favorable voting regions.

And don't say "You know what I mean," because, um, I don't. Probably has some relation to not believing in "representation" of course, but either way, I don't know what you mean.

What I meant was that instead of going through the effort of canvassing, and working on a local level to swing votes in your direction, individual by individual, in order to win a district, they're simply gerrymandering these districts to gather the easiest won areas into one riding, as to essentially minimize how much effort it takes to actually win the seat by campaigning. It relies instead on demographic and voting trends.

And yes, it does have a lot to do with representation. Gerrymandering allows a region that votes overwhelmingly Party A, to be "cracked" and allow Party B to win in every single district. Or it gives an unfair advantage to Party A in a strung-out district, while all those in Party B have their votes count for nothing, and not just because they're a crap party, but because the district they're trying to fight for is designed to give an unfair advantage to the opponent. It literally strips them of any fair chance of winning a district.

If you want to represent a district, it should be by fair election - not gerrymander.
JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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12/27/2009 11:50:19 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/27/2009 11:39:02 PM, wjmelements wrote:
JBlake, I really enjoyed your debate, but I wasn't able to read it in time to vote.

Representation could be better improved with many different methods. While gerrymandering would certainly improve representation, I believe that other reforms would be more efficient. Either:
-Put every politician that receives more than X votes in office. They are given voting power in congress proportional to the amount of votes they received.
OR
-Turning the ballot into a ranking system.
Gerrymandering wins third as an option, but it's not as efficient in achieving its purpose as the above.

I think a system of Proportional Representation would be ideal. This would even give a few seats to smaller parties. Unfortunately that is about as likely t occur in the U.S. as Ragnar is to become an avid socialist.

The two you mentioned sound far too messy. The first one is too confusing and would give a few people far too much power. I don't know what you mean by a ranking system, though.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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12/27/2009 11:52:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/27/2009 11:50:19 PM, JBlake wrote:
I don't know what you mean by a ranking system, though.

http://www.stv.ca...

I think this is what he means.
JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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12/27/2009 11:53:29 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/27/2009 11:42:25 PM, Volkov wrote:
And yes, it does have a lot to do with representation. Gerrymandering allows a region that votes overwhelmingly Party A, to be "cracked" and allow Party B to win in every single district. Or it gives an unfair advantage to Party A in a strung-out district, while all those in Party B have their votes count for nothing, and not just because they're a crap party, but because the district they're trying to fight for is designed to give an unfair advantage to the opponent. It literally strips them of any fair chance of winning a district.

That is why I advocate a system of packing without cracking. That way, no party is purposefully disadvantaged.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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12/28/2009 12:00:34 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
The first one is too confusing and would give a few people far too much power.
That sounds like a reason FOR it, not against. It's called "accountability." If they shouldn't have had that much power, it becomes apparent a lot quicker than if power is distributed roughly equally through hundreds of different representatives, each of whom has a little more than enough to stick an earmark hear and there, almost none of whom has enough to make it rational to pay any attention to them.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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12/28/2009 12:01:25 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Particular attention for the average voter that is.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.