Redistricting “California Style”

30 Oct

Ooh, I love the arbitrariness of drawing random lines that affect us more than the voting itself.  And of course California is at the forefront of all of this hullabaloo.  I am not, however, ashamed in any way by all the coverage.  Hopefully, the fact that we have a 14-member Redistricting Commission that almost unanimously approved the state senate, state assembly, U.S. Congressional, and Board of Equalization districts is a testament that the propositions that got this instituted was actually a great one.  Politicians no longer pick their voters, but districts are drawn based more on population, geography, and history and not political (well, not as much).  I don’t think that legislators should move to be reelected because they should be representing the area they reside in the best, but who am I to tell them what to do.  Because of the radical shift in the district boundaries, some legislators are either moving to another district or running against an incumbent:

In almost every state, redistricting involves difficult choices for a few incumbent legislators about whether to run against a fellow incumbent, move to another district or leave the legislature. (http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/2011/10/diving-and-dodging-in-california.html)

With California’s top-two primary, much like Washington state, there is a great possibility that they will be running against each other twice (in both the primary and general).  An interesting pair of legislators are the Gaines who are have to move to a district in which both of them are able to run:

The new lines left Assemblywoman Beth Gaines in her current district, but put her husband, state Sen. Ted Gaines, in the same seat as Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale. Now the Roseville couple are considering relocating just a few miles away, to a home in a vacant Senate district, so both can run for re-election and live under the same roof.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/10/3971674/california-redistricting-means.html#ixzz1cHu67ooj

I love the politics of redistricting.  It only happens once a decade (and sometimes more cough cough Texas cough cough), but it is a great way to see that the bedrock of democracy is made by squiggly lines.

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Boris Shor, PhD

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