August 17, 2017

GOP won more votes but not consistently in districts

26 June 2017, 07:20 | Doyle Barker

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That results in a 47 percent efficiency gap heavily favoring Democrats, but both races were close, and if fewer than 5,000 votes had switched in either district, the efficiency gap would be almost even.

Democrats and redistricting drafters in Nevada reject the notion of a Democratic advantage, pointing out that Republicans won control of the Legislature in one of the three elections since the current district lines were implemented. They said factors other than gerrymandering could have contributed, including shifting political attitudes.

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear that case, which could affect voting across the nation.

Despite a 2010 constitutional amendment aimed at preventing political gerrymandering, Republicans continue to dominate Florida politics, especially in the state House - where Democrats only hold 41 of 120 seats. Republicans may have won an extra congressional seat over what would have been expected based on the average vote share around the state that shows a large so-called "efficiency gap". How the court rules could influence congressional redistricting and legislative reapportionment nationwide after the 2020 Census.

"Republicans really put their foot on the gas when Bush got elected", said Steve Schale, a Democratic political consultant. Yet the congressional delegation has a much more lopsided 10-3 split in favor of Republicans.

Former Republican state Rep. Jeff Kottkamp sat on the House committee that redrew House maps.

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It usually works by either splitting up voters from an opposing party across several districts to dilute their vote-called "cracking"-or concentrating them in one district so their votes are over-concentrated on a single race - called "packing".

Torr said he plans to reintroduce the bill in the next legislative session ahead of the upcoming redistricting. It requires lawmakers to draw maps that don't benefit incumbents or political parties and to try to keep communities from being divided for political purposes.

Democrats went on to capture the Colorado House in the 2012 elections.

"Republicans have done a good job of targeting those areas and getting good candidates and putting a lot of money into marginal districts, which they tend to win", he said. New Hampshire has only two districts, both of which were won by Democrats. The same has been true for voters in part of Kansas City, where their lone option has been a Democrat. "The GOP is strong in Wyoming because of the common interest among Wyomingites in the long-standing conservative principles that make up the heart of the Wyoming Republican Party", Mulholland said.

"While I think it is possible to minimize the issue of partisanship, it's also true that inevitably if you have legislators drawing the map there will be some partisan consideration", said Earls, the executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

Experts interviewed by the Associated Press acknowledged those factors, but the new analysis shows partisan gerrymandering also likely plays a significant role.

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