Friday, February 24, 2012

GOP Redistricting Moved Many Thousands Of Voters Unnecessarily, Court Told

Testimony in the civil rights trial in Federal Court in Milwaukee brought against GOP legislators indicates that voters were moved in and out of districts en masse without justification, the Journal Sentinel reports:

In drawing new election districts last year, Republican lawmakers shifted huge numbers of voters into new districts, in one case moving more than 700 times the number of people needed, according to court testimony Thursday.

They could have left the 60th Assembly District in Ozaukee County largely alone because it was underpopulated by just 10 people. Instead, they moved 17,595 people out of the district and put 17,963 people into it. In all, the shift moved 719 times as many people as was necessary, testified Ken Mayer, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist.

The moves also had profound effects for the Latino neighborhoods on Milwaukee's near south side, he said.

There, the new batch of voters in the 8th Assembly District "would simply overwhelm the voting power of the Latino community and severely diminish their ability to elect the candidate of their choice," Mayer testified.

To set the right population levels in the district on Milwaukee's near south side, lawmakers needed to add about 2,800 people. But instead they pulled almost 23,000 people out of the district and added about 25,600 people to it.

The result: Almost half of the people who used to be in the district no longer are, Mayer said. Similar shifts occurred in the neighboring 9th Assembly District.

"They were both in my view radically reconfigured," Mayer testified.


gnarlytrombone said...

The Illusory Tenant tweeted this it of caselaw at us from his tropical lair:

A determination that a gerrymander violates the law must rest on something more than the conclusion that political classifications were applied. It must rest instead on a conclusion that the classifications, though generally permissible, were applied in an invidious manner or in a way unrelated to any legitimate legislative objective.

So contra Lazar, process would seem to have a great deal to do with making that determination.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, I do not understand the plurality to conclude that partisan gerrymandering that disfavors one party is permissible. Indeed, the Court seems to acknowledge it is not. See ante, at 23 (“We do not disagree with [the] judgment” that “partisan gerrymanders [are incompatible] with democratic principles”); ante, at 24 (noting that it is the case, and that the plurality opinion assumes it to be the case, that “an excessive injection of politics [in districting] is unlawful”

Hey Trombone- I added this from your link.

Anonymous said...

Boy. Are you guys going to be disappointed when this case is concluded.

I cannot tell if James is just trying to exploit the propaganda value of the specious arguments raised by your side – including the unsubstantial arguments of “Blinky-Big-Gulp-Barca” – or if James actually believes there is a justiciable validity in them.

Either way, this whole case has been popcorn-munchingly entertaining.

Thank you and --- you lost.

gnarlytrombone said...

Thanks for the derpitude, anon.

The case hinges on whether the WisGOP can provide an explanation for disenfranchising 300,000 voters. They have yet to provide it.

In Illinois, the Democrats produced an explicitly partisan plan - and admitted as much right in the legislation. But they didn't fool themselves into believing that gave them carte blanche in sweeping voters all over the map.