Friday, June 24, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Three - The Court Map, Outstate Edition

Redistricting MinnesotaThis is the second part of a post I started two weeks ago going over what I think will be the most likely outcome of the now court lead redistricting process. The first part went over past court precedent and some different Twin Cities district options.

As always, these maps are drawn using Dave's Redistricting App, a free and easy to use redistricting tool.

This was the final version of the Twin Cities that I arrived at in the previous post:

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Now let's see what happens to the rest of the map, first up, CD1:

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The first congressional district is currently 18,000 people short of ideal population and adding Redwood county, along with some other minor adjustments, puts the district right where it needs to be. Why do I think Redwood county will get added?

Adding Le Sueur, Rice or Goodhue counties from CD2 would only force that district further out into the western counties which may not make much sense. And with the natural boundary that is the Minnesota river, it would make sense to draw in areas south of that and because of the populations of the different counties, it makes the most sense to draw in Redwood.

Adding Redwood county doesn't really have any effect on the districts demographics though, the white voting age population stays at 91% and the Obama percentage stays at 51%.


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The second congressional district is overpopulated by almost 70,000 people. Removing Carver county from the district is the most logical way to remedy this, it results in a more compact district focused on the south suburbs.

CD2 is the district that experiences the most partisan change under my proposed court map, going from 48% Obama to 50%, while the demographics remain largely unchanged. This is primarily due to the loss of crimson red Carver county.

There's almost no way to get around a marginal shift in the DFLs direction in this district though, so no matter how it gets drawn it should be slightly more favorable turf for Democrats.


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CD3 only needs to add about 13,000 people, but the borders of CD3 will need change to accommodate the expansion of CD5. Under this scenario CD3 loses Edina and Brooklyn Center to CD5 and loses Coon Rapids to CD6, meaning it needs to grow to the west. This is done by adding Carver county from CD2, and parts of Wright county from CD6.

The result is that the white voting age population increases by 2 percentage points from 83% to 85%, and there is a corresponding drop in Obama percentage from 52% to 49%. Like with the new CD2, only in reverse, there isn't really any way around drawing more conservative areas into CD3 so it's bound to get more red.

CD4 and CD5: I covered these two districts in a previous post.


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CD6 needs to shed some 96,000 people to get to ideal population, so sizable chunks of the district will need to be lost. In this map those areas are Woodbury, all of Stearns county except St. Cloud and parts of Wright county.

For anyone who thinks the current CD6 is a gerrymander (and for that matter, this version) I defy you to draw the district differently given the constraints the court was working under. If there are to be two metro districts and three suburban districts than having those suburban districts arraigned around the metro districts is pretty much the only option.

The simple fact of redistricting is that the lines have to be drawn somewhere and that somewhere is directly effected by where you've already drawn lines. The current sixth district is not a gerrymander in the classic sense, it's just a collection of counties and cities that don't really fit into the other districts.

The end results of the new 6th are minor demographic changes, from 92% white voting age population to 91% and from 45% Obama to 46%.


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CD7 needs to gain 37,000 people, and with the lose of Redwood county to CD1, more than that. This is accomplished by drawing in the portion of Stearns county that got removed from CD6 and drawing in the portion of Beltrami county that used to belong to CD8.

The demographics of the district don't budge, it still has a 93% white voting age population and went for Obama with 47% of the vote.


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CD8 is the district that is closest to ideal population already, only needing to add some 2,500 people. This is accomplished with some redrawing of the boundaries with CD7. In the previous map Beltrami county was split between CDs 7 and 8, but in this map CD7 absorbs all of it. The reasoning behind this is that if CD8 were to take on more of Beltrami in order to reach population equity, it would end up encroaching on the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

So instead I've ceded Beltrami to CD7 and split Todd County between the two congressional districts. So CD8 barely changes at all, which is what I think we can expect from a court map, staying at 94% white voting age population and 53% Obama.

This is what I call the least change scenario, essentially a preservation of the status quo, which is what I think the most likely outcome is considering the past court precedent and underlying population dynamics. But this is all just an educated guess, the justices may come to different ruling than the previous court, and even if the rulings are the same, they may still draw the lines differently. But I suspect this is pretty close to what we will end up seeing.

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