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How is gerrymandering going to affect mid-term elections?

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Every two years, all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives come up for reelection. Every 10 years, just after the census, each state gets to redraw the congressional districts. This has led to some districts being shaped quite wonky.

    Let's take a rough look at the 2012 House Elections.

    Results
    Republicans: 234 Seats (53%)
    Democrats: 201 Seats (47%)

    So, Republicans clearly took the house. Since Reps are elected by popular vote, and not by an electoral college, it is reasonable to suspect that the popular vote is fairly close to these percentages when added together.

    Popular vote (all districts)
    Republicans: 53,822,442 (48.5%)
    Democrats: 54,301,095 (48.8%)

    But that is not the case. The popular vote suggests that the House should be dead even at 218-217 in either direction. Accounting for margin of error, the Democrats are under represented from anywhere between 15-18 seats. That is a HUGE swing. Because of this, the Republicans were able to continue the stonewall and quagmire tactics that has defined this Congress.

    This election cycle we are using the exact same districts. Can we expect different, more accurate results?
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    Zach:



    The best way to prevent gerrymandering is for states to have an independent commission determine what districts should look like. Fortunately, Arizona is one of those states. Naturally, some of the Republicans have vowed to go to the Supreme Court to overrule what was a voter mandate about 6 six years ago.

    If you review the information at the link below, you'll notice that the majority of the states allow the legislature to determine how districts look, which essentially guarantees an unfair advantage to whoever controls the legislature at the time. Both parties are guilty of arranging things to their advantage, and the most extreme example I've ever see is the 4th Congressional District of Illinois, which is controlled by the Democrats. Its nickname is "earmuffs".

    If the results of the most recent Ballotpedia poll are accurate, it appears that the Democrats COULD retain control of the Senate. None of us would like to see folks like Ted Cruz determining our laws.



    http://ballotpedia.org/State-by-state_redistricting_procedures


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois%27s_4th_congressional_district
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Yeah, Illinois's 4th definately ranks in the top 10 on the gerrymandered Source
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Democrats went to sleep at the worst possible time in 2010. I foresee voting totals like this until 2020. The good thing about that go around is that it's a Presidential election year and far more people will be voting compared to 2010.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    CNN just projected the GOP to maintain control of the House. No big surprise, but I thought I'd update.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    I'm really curious of how the popular vote is going to tally this cycle
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Zach F Wrote: I'm really curious of how the popular vote is going to tally this cycle
    All accounts point to an extremely low turnout. That's not surprising when you look at the map where Senate elections were being held. Most vote tallies I've looked at in the states that have any reliable information out there point to less than fifty percent of eligible voters turning out yesterday. Republicans will try to tell us this was some wave election, but the numbers tell us a different story. The numbers seem to show that Democrats just sat on their hands last night.

    It also brings up the question of whether the Democratic coalition is actually just the Obama coalition. Democrats historically stay home in the midterms, but they seemed to do so at an alarmingly high rate last night. Gerrymandering may have played a role in certain races last night, but the Senate is a statewide office, so gerrymandering doesn't matter. We lost because we stayed home last night. Now we will get what we voted, or didn't vote, for.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    We do know that senior citizens turned out in droves. The disparity between those under thirty and over sixty was the highest it has been in a decade. Last nights results can be of no surprise then considering old white men make up the vast majority of the GOP base.

    Seniors made up 37 percent of all votes yesterday. This is compared to those under the age of thirty, who made up only 12 percent of total votes. Democrats will never win an election when the young stay home.

    Voting breakdown by age