Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, November 10, 2018

Gerrymandering is clawing across courtrooms and headlines nationwide. The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard cases on the constitutionality of voting districts that allegedly entrenched a strong advantage for Republicans in Wisconsin and Democrats in Maryland but dodged direct rulings in both. Another partisan gerrymandering case from North Carolina is winding its way up with a boost from an emphatic lower court opinion in August. But so far it has been impossible to satisfy the justices with a legal framework for partisan gerrymandering.




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Having some at-large representatives is a good way to dilute the problems created by selecting reps from within arbitrary boundaries.

We sort of do that with the Sentate, but I'm talking adding some at-large representation in the House itself.

#1 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-11-10 01:46 PM | Reply

Some states, seven to be exact, are already using an at-large scheme, not because they chose to do so, but because their populations are so small that they only get a single Representative.


#2 | Posted by OCUser at 2018-11-10 05:22 PM | Reply

There are so many ways to district a state that evaluation becomes a massive data challenge for even the fastest computers. For two districts (2X2grid) there are two equal districts, for nine districts (9X9 grid) there are 706,152,947,468,301 equal size districts. Florida has 21 districts and Texas has 36. Mathematicians have stepped into the fray to develop statistical methods that courts can use to spot manipulative districting. Courts seem amenable to a tool called Markov chain Monte Carlo that stands up to the task.

#3 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-11-10 08:07 PM | Reply

Courts seem amenable to a tool called Markov chain Monte Carlo that stands up to the task.

Where did you pull that from? It sure didn't come the summary of the behind a paywall article you posted.

#4 | Posted by et_al at 2018-11-10 09:11 PM | Reply

the latest (November) issue of scientific american

#5 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-11-10 09:34 PM | Reply

I.e. behind a paywall.

I highly doubt that any court, much less "courts", is "amenable" to this new (first draft proposal 2014) methodology that is being discussed as new and theoretical in 2017 and 2018 without mention of presentation in any court.

"markov chain monte carlo gerrymandering" www.google.com

#6 | Posted by et_al at 2018-11-10 09:47 PM | Reply

Markov chains aren't new, they've been around for quite some time and have proved their usefulness.

From Wikipedia, "Markov studied Markov processes in the early 20th century, publishing his first paper on the topic in 1906."

#7 | Posted by snoofy at 2018-11-10 09:51 PM | Reply

The SA author Moon Ducin Associate Professor of Mathematics at Tufts University is consultant to the Court in a Pennylvania case. Professor Weg Pegdon of Carnegy Melon has consulted on this method for the North Carolina case Rcade mentioned in his rewrite of my summary of the article. In fact your google search includes a mention of the North Carolina case. None of this litigation has been settled on any appeals level yet. It remains to be seen whether these higher Courts have any interest in rendering redistricting partisan neutral. SCOTUS has a shameful record in that respect.

#8 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-11-11 10:08 AM | Reply

Unless a state has ranked voting districts have to be gerrymandered. Compact districts containing equal amounts of voters would pack Democrats into the few containing the cities they overwhelmingly occupy.

#9 | Posted by jdmeth at 2018-11-12 06:11 AM | Reply

Tune in tomorrow to hear "Well, I'm not a mathematician so don't know about this. Math is hard. We need to explore alternatives to math in this case..." from every GOP politician whose district looks like a porcupine who is swallowing a snake...

#10 | Posted by catdog at 2018-11-12 09:02 AM | Reply

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