Friday, January 28, 2011

This Week in Redistricting 1/28

It's been over a month since the last time I put up a TWIR, partly because not a lot has been happening on the redistricting front, but mainly because I've found myself in a bit of a post-election listlessness.

My interest in blogging about politics is strongly related to the proximity of the next election and I'm now firmly in the lethargy stage of of the current cycle where I am finding other, non-political, topics to be more interesting timesinks.

So now that my preamble has gotten you super excited to read this post, on with it!

  • The big news is that the lawsuits have begun. The first one was filed on the 12th of January with the plaintiffs all being Democrats. This was followed by a similar lawsuit filed by Republicans.

    None of this is surprising and in fact is expected. Since the requirement to redistrict every ten years is found nowhere in the Minnesota constitution and is the result of court precedent, the only way for the courts to have standing to draw a new map or force a new map to be drawn is if there is a corresponding lawsuit. Which, since the 60's, there has always been.

    And since everyone pretty much expects that the courts will draw the map this time around too, it's just the first step in what will likely be a year-long process.

  • MPR talked with GOP State Sen. Geoff Michel about redistricting this week if you're interested in hearing what the head of redistricting for the Republican Senate has to say.

    In everything I've heard from the GOP so far, they are saying all the right things about working with the minority in the legislature and the Governor to produce a bipartisan map. As I've pointed out before, it wouldn't be completely crazy for the two parties to want to work something out, weather that will happen or not remains to be seen.

  • rougemapper over at Swing State Project took to Dave's Redistricting app to try his hand at a Minnesota map. Check it out.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MNGOP decides they won't run against Amy

Seeing how well she polls Republicans have decided that they would rather run against Al Franken.

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I guess we'll see how far they get with this strategy, but it's certainly a concession of the obvious, Amy Klobuchar is extremely popular and will be very difficult to beat. Given those conditions I can see why they'd rather not run against her.

And while they managed to get the wording updated on the front page to "destroying", they didn't actually get to the whole site yet.

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If, like me, you were surprised to see that Amy voted for a bill that never actually got to the floor of the Senate it's because she didn't. This is what they are referring to:

The Environment and Public Works Committee voted 10-1 -- with seven Republican members skipping the vote -- to approve the climate change legislation drafted by Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

At least we know how they're planning to attack Amy, by attacking someone else.

Here's the address of the web site they put up, if you're curious:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Redistricting: What makes a fair map

I've been meaning to write this post for awhile and finally got the imputes from a Twitter discussion with Harry Niska yesterday. This is how it started:

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For those who don't know @amysd19 is Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch who was speaking at the Elephant Club luncheon. While Senator Koch is probably right, I took issue with her use of the word fair in regards to redistricting.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Whitewashing Twain


An Alabama-based publishing company will replace the n-word in The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn with the word "slave," and print Tom Sawyer without the term "Injun." Mark Twain scholar Alan Gribben says replacing the words will allow more students to experience the classic books.

I have to say that my immediate reaction to this story was the same as almost everyone else's, this is to say my reaction was along the lines of WTF? What's next, taking the F-word out of Glengarry Glen Ross?

I immediately thought of Stephen Spielberg's lame move to edit the guns out of the cops hands in E.T., replacing them with walkie talkies.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Redistricting: How we can expect the districts to change

Now that we know Minnesota will be keeping all eight of it's districts we can begin to look at what those districts might look like.

The Census Bureau has released population and apportionment information by state, Minnesota's population is 5,303,925, but have not released the more detailed data that will further brake down where those 5.3 million people are distributed in the state.

The ideal district size is achieved by dividing 5,303,925 by 8, which is 662,990.625. Since you can't have .625 of a person in one district the actual district sizes will end up being 662,990 and 662,991.

Although we don't have the official data from the Census Bureau yet, we do have good data from the Legislative Coordinating Commission's Geographic Information Services. Their 2009 Statewide Population Estimate came in at 5,300,942, which gives us ideal district sizes of 662,618.

These numbers are so close that I don't think it's necessary to try and extrapolate what the actual 2010 Census district sizes will be, I'm just going to use the LCC GIS's estimates, those are (difference from ideal size in brackets):

CD1: 635,429 [-27,189]
CD2: 737,324 [+74,706]
CD3: 664,528 [+1,537]
CD4: 623,879 [-38,739]
CD5: 618,292 [-44,326]
CD6: 755,489 [+92,871]
CD7: 615,742 [-46,876]
CD8: 649,438 [-13,180]