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Redistrcting in Arizona - and around the country

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  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    If you type "redistrcting" into the search bar above, you'll pull up 8 opinion articles (so far) but no discussion threads (until today)

    In the year 2000, the voters in Arizona voted to set up an independent redistricting committee (which has 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats, and one registered Independent as members) to minimize the effects of gerrymandering in the state. Naturally, the Republicans hate it, since it diminished their ability to control the outcome of local, state, and national elections.

    Some of our esteemed state leaders are in D.C. TODAY to argue that redistricting should be returned to the control of the local legislature.

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/01/arizona-congressional-districts-house-supreme-court/24223191/

    the key words in the article shown above are:

    Supporters say creating more right-leaning congressional districts would better reflect the makeup of the Arizona electorate, given that the GOP holds every statewide office.

    since Independent voters outnumber both Republicans and Democrats, the legislature in Phoenix should be 1/3 Republican, 1/3 Democrat, and 1/3 Independent

    as it stands now , the legislature is pretty evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, which is an improvement over the time when the Republicans had a super majority

    13 of the 30 seats in the Senate are held by Democrats, as are 23 of the 60 seats in the House

    as you know, the Republicans can't win unless they cheat, which is why many states have passed voter ID laws, and are attempting redistricting

    Democratic candidates in last November's Senate races got 20 million more votes than their Republican opponents - but lost control of the Senate - due to how the districts in the country have been drawn. :

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/05/senate-democrats-got-20-million-more-votes-than-senate-republicans-which-means-basically-nothing/

    ALEC, of course, is behind all this nonsense, and there are a lot of ALEC members in legislatures around the country (including 37 in Arizona)

    http://www.politicususa.com/2013/01/26/alecs-fingerprints-electoral-college-rigging-efforts-blue-states.html

    hopefully, the Supreme Court will make the proper decision, but recent decisions (like Citizen's United) make me worry about this one ..
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Arizona -- Thanks for sharing this. I'll add my own comments.

    Redistricting (gerrymandering) in 2011 followed the 2010 census, so we cannot blame the poor Democratic Party election results in the 2010 elections on redistricting. Rather the Republicans just outsmarted the Democrats by pouring money into selected state races that turned the balance of power in those legislatures over to Republicans. And then the Republican controlled state legislatures did the redistricting...at least as the law allowed. Arizona had their own rules which as you have pointed out are being challenged.

    Redistricting, of course, affects the House districts but the Senate races are statewide, (except for Maine and Nebraska) and are not affected by redistricting. I've spent a lot of time analyzing voter turnout, and yes we can blame redistricting in part for losses in 2014, but in 2012 when Obama was being reelected we actually regained House and Senate seats lost in 2010.

    The big reason Democrats lost big in 2010 and 2014 is that they stay home when there is no president to elect in those years. They just can't seem to get excited to get off their behinds and vote. As one who has registered voters in Colorado and canvassed for candidates door to door to get out the vote my biggest frustration with my fellow Dems is apathy. We can complain about gerrymandered districts, we can complain about restrictive voter ID laws and limited polling places, and yes they make a difference, but the magnitude of that difference is small by comparison to the huge number of people who just didn't care to vote in those years (2010, 2014).

    Colorado did better than most states in 2014 with all mail-in ballots and ballot drop-off locations. But even then many Dems didn't feel like opening the ballot or putting a stamp on it and mailing it. There is another factor...those Democratic candidates that ran away from the Obama agenda (Obamacare especially), lost their elections. I guess they just felt intimidated by the Republican attack ads on Obama. In my state of Colorado, Senator Udall with an impecable record as senator lost because he ran a shitty campaign...running some ads on why he opposed Obama. On the other hand, Governor Hickenlooper stuck to his guns and defended his record and agenda...and he won.

    We will have to wait until the 2020 census to reverse the gerrymandered districts from 2010, but that will only happen if Dems get passionate and vote. All we have is excuses. In the meantime, we can make large inroads in 2016 and at least take back the Senate. But hey in 2018 we will lose it again just like we always do...because we don't care enough to VOTE.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: We will have to wait until the 2020 census to reverse the gerrymandered districts from 2010, but that will only happen if Dems get passionate and vote. All we have is excuses. In the meantime, we can make large inroads in 2016 and at least take back the Senate. But hey in 2018 we will lose it again just like we always do...because we don't care enough to VOTE.
    I couldn't agree more with you Schmidt. The Democrats messed up big time when they stayed home in 2010. They didn't realize the major ramifications of their decision until it was too late. Gerrymandering and isn't a sexy word, but the results of the lines that are drawn have a huge impact on everything under the sun.

    The only positive thing about 2020 is that it's a Presidential election year and not a midterm, so turnout will undoubtedly be higher. That will surely benefit the Democrats.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    that guy in Arizona Wrote: hopefully, the Supreme Court will make the proper decision, but recent decisions (like Citizen's United) make me worry about this one ..
    This is a really tough issue and I'm not really sure where I stand on it. On the one hand--the Constitution seems pretty clear about who draws the district boundaries. On the other--I can't stand how politicians are able to draw the lines of the district they represent. It's easy to win when you can game the system.

    I have a feeling they will throw out Arizona's law. It's a rather conservative court and they wouldn't surprise me in the least if they side with the state. That may not be too bad of a thing in the long run though. Democrats will one day win back control there and then they will get to draw the lines and piss off all the Republicans. The demographics in this country are rapidly changing and that may happen sooner than you think.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I saw this on a web page. It has nothing to do with anything but It made me laugh. Obviously not worth a new thread (although we could sure use 2 or 3 new threads....) But I decided I would paste it here (as in anywhere) incase it might make someone else chuckle : for today is the 96th anniversary of President Warren G. Harding's inauguration.

    OK, go back to redistricting...
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    Nigeria is currently in the middle of the most contested presidential races in the country's history. The terrorist group, Boko Haram, has killed 41 people (including a legislator), in an effort to discourage people from voting, but MILLIONS of people still decided to vote on Saturday.

    In America last November, voter turnout was the lowest in 70 years, which President Obama mentioned in his recent speech in Selma.

    I agree with Schmidt that voter indifference on the part of Democratic voters is part of the problem, but I'm still convinced that voter ID laws (which benefit Republicans) also played a big role. Wisconsin has decided to not enforce its latest voter ID laws for its April 7 elections, but plan to use the law in future elections. According to a federal judge that reviewed the law, it could prevent 300,000 otherwise eligible voters from casting their votes.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/us/supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-wisconsin-voter-id-law.html?_r=0

    Arizona is in the process of trying to pass yet another law (SB 1339) that is designed to "prevent voter fraud". Arizona, of course, does not operate in a vacuum, since 33 states have some form of voter ID laws. The popularity of voter ID laws is directly related to the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the July 12, 2011 article in “The Nation” explains how ALEC has been rigging elections in favor of the Republican Party.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/161969/rigging-elections#

    Although all 50 states have at least some representation of ALEC in their legislature, very few of them have more legislative members with ties to ALEC than Arizona, which has 37. Georgia has 45, Kansas has 51, Pennsylvania has 59, and Texas has 71.

    You may be interested to know that the John Birch Society (which is essentially the same organization as the Tea Party) really likes voter ID laws too, which you can read in the article posted below. They’re also not very fond of a form of government called democracy. As Winston Churchill himself said, democracy is the worst form of government - except for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.

    http://www.jbs.org/the-john-birch-society/the-wisdom-of-voter-id-laws

    https://richardlangworth.com/worst-form-of-government

    I agree with Republican legislators that voter fraud exists in this country. However, the truth is that it is caused entirely by voter ID laws.

    If people in Nigeria are willing to risk their lives in order to cast their votes, the least that we can do is to fight voter ID laws as often as possible.





  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I also hate the voter ID laws as they're just intended to stop a large number of voters from voting. Thus stacking the deck in their (repubs) favor.
    Maybe - just maybe, we should consider another ludicrous - insane angle...... Maybe we should all suggest that Seniors, persons of color, immigrants, and
    whomever would have trouble voting GET A FREAKING ID. You need ID to cash a check, use an unsigned (mine is unsigned because I want them to verify) debit card or credit card, I don't know why a huge number of Americans don't have a valid Identification. If someone else has more insight into why it's such a huge problem, please tell me. A drivers license or state ID is good for at least 4 years and it costs 6.00 - 8.00 If you're so poor you're deciding between food and medicine I understand where it wouldn't necessarily be a priority. Seems like a good reason to say "Grandma, it's your birthday, I'm going to take you to get your ID and I'll buy you lunch"
    Another angle is the type of voting (Absentee) where you complete the form and mail it in.
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    TJ:

    Since I have had a valid drivers license for 50 years, the new voter ID laws don't affect me personally (other than the fact that voter ID laws allow people to get elected who have no business holding public office).

    The link below, though, will tell you why as many as 3.2 million people (the majority of whom would likely vote for the Democrats) do not have the proper ID to "pass muster" under the new voter ID laws:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/01/28/146006217/why-new-photo-id-laws-mean-some-wont-vote

    About 4 years ago, the Democratic National Committee conducted a study to determine how much voter ID laws actually cost states. The answer was a minimum of $276 million, and the details are provided below: The DNC, incidentally, estimates that as many as 23 million (!) people lack the proper ID's to satisfy the requirements of the voter ID laws.

    http://www.democrats.org/the-real-cost-of-photo-id-laws

    On occasion, voter ID laws take a weird twist. In Texas, an expired gun owners card from Arkansas would qualify as proper ID, but a student ID for a student who was going to college in Texas would not.

    When the Supreme Court ruled that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was declared unenforceable by the Supreme Court in 2013, the southern states went crazy. The new voter ID law cobbled together by the Texas legislature took effect THE SAME DAY as the Supreme Court ruling.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act_of_1965
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    that guy,
    Thanks for the information. I guess perhaps I'm naïve but like you, I've had a drivers license since 16. My parents always had govt. issued photo ID's.... I guess it's hard for me to understand so many people living off of the societal grid. From reading the stories I see where it is possible. There must be a solution. First and foremost should be a very low cost and very user friendly method for getting a copy of one's birth certificate. Then getting a State issued ID from the dept. of motor vehicles can be done. Yes sometimes the lines are long but I believe you can go to one of many offices. I live in a small city 20 minutes outside of the #15 city in the USA and in our BMV you take a number and sit to wait your turn. Not too tough and $6.00 - $8.00. Last four years and suddenly you're verifiably part of America. If you just became official = welcome !!!!!! Hopefully you'll need 10 more of them which means you've lived another 40 years. 40 years later, you've still spent well under 100.00
  • Independent
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    Democracy is interesting. What Churchill spoke of was a republic much like we are supposed to be. Sadly republics are just as susceptible to corruption and charlatanism as any human developed system. As for direct democracy it is impossible in anything larger than the Athenian city-states. to borrow from a forgotten source you can't get 6000 people into one room. And even then corruption, prejudice, preconceptions, ignorance, arrogance and cult of personality would still be in play. Iirc, Benjamin Rush said the people wield their power on Election Day and then cede it to those they gave elected. And looking at some the elected and excrement passed as law it appears republican democracies have an inherent ability to fail and fail miserably.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    TJ Wrote: that guy,
    Thanks for the information. I guess perhaps I'm naïve but like you, I've had a drivers license since 16. My parents always had govt. issued photo ID's.... I guess it's hard for me to understand so many people living off of the societal grid. From reading the stories I see where it is possible. There must be a solution. First and foremost should be a very low cost and very user friendly method for getting a copy of one's birth certificate. Then getting a State issued ID from the dept. of motor vehicles can be done. Yes sometimes the lines are long but I believe you can go to one of many offices. I live in a small city 20 minutes outside of the #15 city in the USA and in our BMV you take a number and sit to wait your turn. Not too tough and $6.00 - $8.00. Last four years and suddenly you're verifiably part of America. If you just became official = welcome !!!!!! Hopefully you'll need 10 more of them which means you've lived another 40 years. 40 years later, you've still spent well under 100.00
    As per Arizona's link above,

    NPR, January 28, 2012: Why New Photo ID Laws Mean Some Won't Vote

    By all estimates, those least likely to have a government-issued photo ID fall into one of four categories: the elderly, minorities, the poor and young adults aged 18 to 24. The Brennan Center estimates that 18 percent of all seniors and 25 percent of African-Americans don't have picture IDs.

    Many people have multiple forms of identification, including those that display their pictures — like employee badges or credit and debit cards. But states with strict voter ID laws require people to have certain photo IDs issued by governments. That typically means driver's licenses. But many seniors and many poor people don't drive. In big cities, many minorities rely on public transit. And many young adults, especially those in college, don't yet have licenses.

    In most states with voter ID laws, citizens must present birth certificates to obtain new photo IDs. Seniors and those born in rural areas, in particular, face a difficult time meeting the requirement because birth certificates weren't regularly generated in the 1930s and earlier. And many of these people were delivered by midwives, who often improperly spelled babies' and parents' names on birth documents.

    "People are caught in a Catch-22: You need a birth certificate to get this ID, but to get a birth certificate you have to have an ID," says Elisabeth MacNamara, who heads the League of Women Voters. MacNamara also notes that a birth certificate may not be sufficient documentation for women who changed their names after marrying. States require them to present their marriage licenses or divorce decrees.


    These are just a few issues raised by NPR in their article. There are many anecdotal examples that make it impossible for some seniors that have voted in the past to ever vote again. The state of Tennessee, for example, no longer puts your photo on your driver's license if you are over 65. Yet they require a voter ID to vote. Go figure that one out. They effectively disenfranchised many voters over 65 that did not have a birth certificate. Intent?

    Furthermore, if you are a senior and don't have a birth certificate, going though old government registrars is a painful and costly experience when none of those records have been digitized. A senior often cannot afford the fees up to $200 fee to have someone in the clerk and recorders office dig through dusty 60-70 year old records, and then have to correct them for spelling differences or come up empty. These laws are doing exactly what they are intended to do...disenfranchise voters who typically vote for Democrats.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt, this ties in what guy wrote about "discrimination" the facts you wrote actually originated because of discrimination. Some area's in this country have not entered the 21st century yet. In Europe no one has no ID and still we call ourselves the most developped country in the world. Wow, Join the armed forces and you get automatically an ID on your gravestone.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Great point Dutch. That's my argument as well. If we can't get our citizens a valid photo ID then we are a stupid / stone age country. More specifically we appear to be the inept party as well. Republicans have no issues getting identification. Perhaps the Democratic party should be informed it's the 21st century. In a previous post I mentioned how it should be important for all citizens to get on the records. If you can't manage getting an ID then answer this.... Have you read a newspaper ? Can you read ? There should be more than the ability to stand in a line to voting. I'm sorry I don't mean to be bitter but I get frustrated that the damned repubs don't face all of the problems that we do in people being able to vote. I don't like the voter ID laws but in general it's not all bad. Note to the country: If you have old or young relatives who have never been to a city, make it a point to take them there. While your at it, help them get an ID.
  • Very Conservative Republican
    Republican
    Texas
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    Ok, I get all the historical relevance of poll taxes, etc and why that is a theoretical argument about why an ID shouldn't be required.

    However, the list of things requiring an ID to do is long. Seniors require an ID to get Social security, the poor to get CHIP, the disabled to get their programs, etc etc, the list goes on. You need an ID to buy a beer, to get on a plane, to get a job, to sign up for insurance, and so on and so forth. But an ID shouldn't be required for voting?

    In this nation of 300 million people, is there more than 1 person who can be found that this actually stopped them from voting?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    From Wikipedia:

    No ID required at polling place: California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C. do not require ID to vote.

    Non-photo ID in effect: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington.

    Strict photo ID in effect: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.


    It would seem that several states get by just fine with no voter IDs or non-photo voter IDs. So why do some states like Texas have such strict voter IDs? To suppress the vote in those states. The more difficult you make it to register to vote and to vote, the more likely you will not make the effort. This primarily affects voters more inclined to vote for Democrats. In Texas your concealed gun permit ID is okay as a photo ID but not your student ID.