Congressional redistricting: One man, one vote | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 18, 2011

Congressional redistricting: One man, one vote

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 8:04 AM

I had a short discussion yesterday about emerging partisan proposals for congressional redistricting. Surprise, each party has a plan that best suits its interest.

I inquired after the population variance in Republican Sen. Johnny Key's plan. He graciously sent it in as a comment last night and I'd like to share it here.

As calculated by Bureau of Legislative Research

CD1 - 730,654 (.2% deviation)
CD2 - 727,090 (-.3% deviation)
CD3 - 728,840 (0% deviation)
CD4 - 729,334 (0% deviation)

Those appear to be small deviations. I don't know anything about the precedent on population deviations to know if they fall within past rulings in court challenges. I would observe this: There are 3,500 more people in the 1st than in the 2nd, which is smaller than every other district by at least 1,750.

I have asked Sen. Gilbert Baker how this squares with remarks he has made to me — and other media — that he wouldn't tolerate a single vote difference between the districts. Wednesday, he called Key's plan "a great map."

I guess, though, that it makes sense for the districts with demonstrated growth to shoulder the variance, if some is tolerated. The theory being that they'll catch up in short order.

We may see a firmer idea of the Democratic plan next week. It should begin with preserving existing Delta counties in the 1st (why start a balancing plan by giving up counties in a district that has to grow?). Key would move them to the 4th. It might should include growing the 1st's reach in the Delta all the way to the Louisiana border a couple of counties wide. That would be a "natural."

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