Redistricting - Opposing Gerrymandering

From Green Policy
Jump to navigation Jump to search

US: The Frontlines of Democratic/Republican Politics

State Legislatures Exert Political Muscle


The Gerrymandering Project

Check the Maps, Start Here -

More from -

The Atlas Of Redistricting
"Hating Gerrymandering Is Easy. Fixing It Is Harder"



"REDMAP for Redistricting Majority Project"

The GOP Targets State Legislatures Politically

An Agenda Comes into the Open

It was never a secret. In 2010, the conservative political strategist Karl Rove took to the Wall Street Journal and laid out a plan to win majorities in state legislatures across the country.

Rove: He who controls redistricting can control Congress

SCOTUS-and the curtain re ABA.jpg

The Supreme Court of the United States Reviews Federalism -- and State Legislative Powers

On the Agenda: Moore v. Harper

Lawyers Resolve Re: the Supreme Court of the United State

The American Bar Association (ABA)
“RESOLVED” ... “that the American Bar Association urges the United States Supreme Court to record and make available video recordings of its oral arguments

Drill down into the story, read more about electoral politics-in-action

"Gerrymandering On Steroids":

"We are the only democracy in the world that allows the politicians to draw their own lines and essentially choose their own voters... We want to take this out of the hands of the politicians. But the politicians, because they understand how important it is, are really reluctant to let go of this power. Even sometimes in states where nonpartisan commissions have been put into place, the politicians have found a way to worm their way into them."


The Book on Redistricting

The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy"
By David Daley

The Daley Book Reviews:

"Daley’s book provides a blow-by-blow account of how this happened. He draws on investigative reports, interviews and court documents to give readers an eye-opening tour of a process that many Americans never see… What Daley makes clear is that ruthless partisan gerrymandering is not good for democracy and makes it that much more difficult to wrestle control of the House away from the GOP. Democrats should read this book."

― Julian E. Zelizer, Washington Post

"Extraordinarily timely and undeniably important."

― Alex Wagner, New York Times Book Review


― Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker

"The way dark money was translated into congressional majorities is one of the great, sinister stories of our time. But in David Daley the shadow figures have finally met their match."

― Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas

From the Author/Publisher:

This is the story of the audacious Republican plan which not only penned in the Obama presidency but managed, in spite of jubilant 2008 Democratic expectations, to create supermajorities for conservative policies in otherwise blue and purple states. This is the story of the actual redrawing of the American political map and of our democracy itself. It’s the story of how Republicans turned a looming demographic disaster into legislative majorities so unbreakable, so impregnable, that none of the outcomes are in doubt until after the 2020 census. It is the story of new mapping technologies so exact that they’ve re-sorted and resegregated Americans, while creating congressional districts where the only competition comes from someone more extreme.

It’s legal, it’s breathtaking, and much of it happened in plain sight. The Democratic majority was ratfucked.

In politics, a “ratfuck” is a dirty deed done dirt cheap.

You can trace the term back as far as Edmund Wilson’s "The Twenties". It was used decades later in All the President’s Men, the story of how Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal and brought about the resignation of Richard Nixon. They quoted Donald Segretti, an operative tied to Nixon’s reelection campaign, as using the colorful term to describe political sabotage and the early shenanigans of seamy strategists linked to the burglars who bungled the Watergate break-in...


The Daley Book, Origins of 'R-effing' Term, and a Contemporary History of 'Dirty Tricks Politics'


Via Wikipedia - Woodward and Bernstein's account in All the President's Men reports that many Republican staffers — H. R. Haldeman (pre-1948), Donald Segretti (early 1960s), White House aide Tim Elbourne, Ronald Louis Ziegler, and Dwight Chapin — had attended the University of Southern California and participated in the highly competitive student elections there. At USC, future Watergate scandal participants Chapin, Ziegler, Elbourne, Segretti, Gordon Strachan and Herbert Porter were members of Trojans for Representative Government. United Press International reporter Karlyn Barker sent Woodward and Bernstein a memo, "Notes On the USC Crowd", that outlined the connection. Fraternities, sororities, and underground fraternal coordinating organizations — such as Theta Nu Epsilon and their splintered rival "Trojans for Representative Government" — engaged in creative tricks and underhanded tactics to win student elections. Officially, control over minor funding and decision-making on campus life was at stake, but the positions also gave bragging rights and prestige. The tactics were either promoted by or garnered the interest of major political figures on the USC board of trustees, such as Dean Rusk and John A. McCone. The young operators called these practices ratfucking.

See the Wikipedia Listing and References/Citations here --


GreenPolicy Siterunner:

More from the memory vault....

The title of this book by David Daley is a bit (as the vernacular goes) 'bodacious', in a way that is revelatory, if crass. Let's take a trip into history, down the rabbit hole and to the 1960s and to a fraternity-sorority system, a president named Nixon, and street of stately houses on a street adjacent to the University of Southern California, USC.

The street was called "The Row", and the fraternity-sorority row of plantation-looking houses was referred often to as 'the Old South'. SC's fraternity-sorority system was also said to be the largest 'west of the Mississippi River'. It was also, as referred in Wikipedia here, as the site of an original brew of politics that was know as 'rat**king':

Ratfucking is an American slang term for political sabotage or dirty tricks, particularly pertaining to elections. It was brought to public attention by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the book which chronicled their investigative reporting of the Watergate scandal, All the President's Men (1974).

The type of politics practiced at USC in the 1960s, as your GreenPolicy360 siterunner chronicled as an active political figure at USC in the 1960s attests, was also called 'dirty tricks politics' and 'creative dirty tricks'. It was much more than Wikipedia's reference as "creative tricks". It was in fact a type of practice that the Nixon-supporting clique carried from USC into the While House, and it became a practice that came into the open with the Watergate scandal. The practices have carried on far beyond Watergate.

Famed and infamous figures such as Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, Roger Stones and Roger Ailes and many others besides USC Trojan alums Chapin, Ziegler, Segretti, Strachen and Porter were practitioners of this style of politics now captured in news, investigations, trials, convictions, memoirs and history books. The results of these tricks are still at loose in the land. A 'trickster' style of politics has changed the history of the US in profound ways, in presidential elections, the type of campaigning, the type of 'gotcha' reporting, the creation of Fox News (after the 1988 Ailes campaigning experiences and resulting proposal to Rupert Murdoch to create a hard-hitting Fox News venture), and a long trail that can be traced person-to-person back to what was often, back in the fifties/sixties referred to a 'Nixon politics'. The so-called 'invention' of modern political consulting firms, with Spencer & Roberts, that came about subsequent to President Nixon's failures and the rise of Screen Actor's Guild President, Ronald Reagan, financed by a "Kitchen Cabinet", a group of men often associated with USC's board of trustees, is a story of young men and older men in action. The results of a counter to what was called the 'counter culture'. It's a story to be told at a later date, even as the story continues on, as told in the results of Karl Rove's politics and the above "Redistricting Project".

A history of 'dirty trickster' politics' as it traces back to 'the Row' and Nixon operatives-in-training USC and passing of a trickster baton over decades is a story that continues on ...

For additional info view:

Roger Stone, a self-described “dirty trickster" whose career and life is a study in "performative politics".

A few notes...

Stone, born in 1952, was in his late teens when he became an aide for President Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign. Although Stone has insisted that he never did anything illegal during the Watergate scandal, he has described his work during that period as “trafficking in the black arts.”

Roger Stone often claims and continues to push that his style of politics works.

The Dirty Trickster

Campaign tips from the man who has done it all

Roger Stone, in Florida 2000, disrupting the presidential vote count as an organizer of what comes to be known as the "Brooks Brothers Riot". The result in a U.S. Supreme Court Decision ruling in Bush v. Gore, an extremely controversial and disputed decision, that George W. Bush is president of the United States.


"Stone claimed he ran the (2000 Florida) Brooks Brothers riot from a Winnebago parked near the election office"

‘It’s insanity!’: How the ‘Brooks Brothers Riot’ killed the 2000 recount in Miami

"Perhaps the most famous operative on the scene was Nixon’s “dirty trickster” himself: Roger Stone."

From 2000 Florida to 2021 in Washington DC: The insurrection on Capitol Hill (January 6, 2021) directly descends from the legacy of the Brooks Brothers riot and Bush v. Gore



The REDMAP plan, which its architects dubbed REDMAP for Redistricting Majority Project, hinged on the fact that states redraw their electoral maps every 10 years according to new Census data. REDMAP targeted states where just a few statehouse seats could shift the balance to Republican control in the crucial Census year of 2010.

That plan worked spectacularly. It's why today Republicans have a majority in nearly two-thirds of the country's state legislative chambers. And it's why in 2012 Democratic statehouse candidates won 51 percent of the vote in Pennsylvania, which voted for Barack Obama in the presidential election, yet those candidates ended up with only 28 percent of the seats in the legislature.

''As politics in the U.S. has polarized along geographic and racial lines, drawing political maps has become a partisan arms race. Even the smallest decisions about where to draw district boundaries can alter the power dynamic in Congress — without a single voter switching parties or moving.

''It’s easy for opponents of gerrymandering — the drawing of political boundaries for the benefit of one party or group over another — to argue what districts shouldn’t look like. All they have to do is ridicule the absurdity of the most bizarre patchworks ever woven to elect members of Congress.


Redistricting; Gerrymandering

Independent Commissions Drawing Maps

A Case Study


More re: 'The Independent State Legislature Theory'

December 2022

How John Roberts may slow-walk American democracy right off the cliff

SCOTUS: Judge Roberts may seek a compromise in the Independent State Legislature case — one that locks down minority rule

Republicans’ Supreme Court argument on redistricting could backfire

Turning a Fringe Constitutional Theory into a Weapon, v. James Madison


Courts & Law: Supreme Court on partisan gerrymandering

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

More on Gerrymandering

Via the Washington Post

Watch the Video

How Gerrymandering Works via Wonkblog.png

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Voters approve reform of Ohio's redistricting process

A Model for Other States?

The Columbus Dispatch • Wednesday November 4, 2015

Voters overwhelmingly backed a plan to reform Ohio’s hyper-partisan process for drawing legislative districts, and supporters are already looking ahead to passing the same reforms for congressional districts next year.

“Today's win was an important first step, but it only got us halfway there," said Carrie Davis, executive director of the League of Women Voters. “We need to take these new anti-gerrymandering rules that Issue 1 applied to the General Assembly and extend them to congressional districts, which are even more gerrymandered.”

Issue 1, which will change the legislative redistricting process starting in 2021, when the lines are scheduled to be drawn again, won with 71 percent of the vote, according to final, unofficial results.

“Ohio voters can do amazing things when they work together. Let’s work together to reform the congressional map,” said Sandy Theis, executive director of ProgressOhio.

The new process will attempt to curtail the partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts that critics say has led to too many non-competitive districts, artificially protects the majority party’s power, and creates a system where incumbents have more fear of being challenged from the far flanks of their parties, causing them to govern in a more partisan manner...

League of Women Voters / Redistricting Reform -

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Supreme Court of US Rules in support of constitutionality of Arizona state model of independent redistricting

Potential for State Initiatives and Ballot Law Reforms

In 2000, Arizona voters adopted Proposition 106, an initiative aimed at the problem of gerrymandering. Proposition 106 amended Arizona’s Constitution, removing redistricting authority from the Arizona Legislature and vesting it in an independent commission, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC). After the 2010 census, as after the 2000 census, the AIRC adopted redistricting maps for congressional as well as state legislative districts. The Arizona Legislature challenged the map the Commission adopted in 2012 for congressional districts, arguing that the AIRC and its map violated the “Elections Clause” of the U. S. Constitution, which provides: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.” Because “Legislature” means the State’s representative assembly, the Arizona Legislature contended, the Clause precludes resort to an independent commission, created by initiative, to accomplish redistricting. A three-judge District Court held that the Arizona Legislature had standing to sue, but rejected its complaint on the merits.


997 F. Supp. 2d 1047, affirmed.

GINSBURG, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. ROBERTS, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. SCALIA, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which THOMAS, J., joined. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SCALIA, J., joined.

Supreme Court Backs Arizona's Redistricting Commission

JUNE 29, 201510:47 AM ET


U.S. states' efforts to counter extreme gerrymandering won a victory Monday, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a bipartisan Arizona panel that draws the state's districts. The court's vote was 5-4; Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, as did Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the majority, in which her citations included James Madison writing in The Federalist Papers.

"The people of Arizona turned to the initiative to curb the practice of gerrymandering," Ginsburg wrote, "and, thereby, to ensure that Members of Congress would have 'an habitual recollection of their dependence on the people.' "

Ginsburg continued, quoting a 2005 gerrymandering case: "In so acting, Arizona voters sought to restore 'the core principle of republican government,' namely, 'that the voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.' "

More re: Redistricting and Reapportionment

In the age of computers, such political gerrymanders can result in state congressional maps that look like a madman's jigsaw puzzle. And even the U.S. Supreme Court has said that these gerrymanders can rig the process to deprive citizens of fair representation.


Listen In:

Stuart Rothenberg editor and publisher of the Rothenberg Political Report; columnist, Roll Call

Richard Hasen professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine; author of "The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown"

Jan Baran head of the election law group at Wiley Rein LLP; former general counsel, Republican National Committee; author, "The Election Law Primer for Corporations."

Colleen Mathis chair, Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (2010 - present)


SR: ... putting in the context of the larger discussion, most states, over 40 states, I believe it's 43 states, allow the legislature to draw often their own lines, but also congressional districts. And there has been a call, increasingly, around the country for non-partisan groups, non-legislatures to draw lines, to create districts that are more competitive not less competitive, that are less polarized in terms of partisan and ideology to presumably result in a more compromising cooperative Congress.

Rick Hasen, do you think a number of other states are going to follow Arizona's lead?



Well, we do know that in Ohio, there were some efforts -- and Ohio is a very important battleground state, very close state in terms of, you know, lots of different elections there. Ohio, there was an effort to try and do this and that effort was put on hold pending the outcome of this decision. People thought, why spend millions of dollars and have a big campaign if we don't know if thing's going to work.



So now, I think there's going to be momentum there. But I would add, just to go back to the point that Jan made about this happening only once every 10 years, although the litigation lasts all 10 of those years in some places, that it is not just about redistricting. It's about, you know, you think of California adopted the top two primary where instead of running where it's a Democrat against a Republican, against maybe someone from the Green Party or a libertarian, it's the top two candidates that go on in the general election.



Sometimes that means two Democrats or two Republicans. I'm not sure that that's a wise policy, just like I'm not sure it's a wise policy to have citizen redistricting. But I'd rather have the people make that choice through the initiative process than have the courts take away the option. So now, as Stu said, there are all kinds of various ways that we could try and do redistricting. What this opinion does is it allows for state experimentation.



It's actually kind of a pro-federalism opinion in that it gives lots of opportunities to try different things that might improve our political process and maybe get rid of some of the gridlock.



Rick Hasen, professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine and author of "The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown."



This is an inherently political process as it is. Drawing political boundaries is political by nature. And so I don't think you can entirely remove the politics from the process, but what you can do is bring it out into the open and engage as many citizens as you can, listen to them and get them to participate in the process and hope that you come out with a set of maps that reflects those viewpoints to the extent you can.


California officials praise Supreme Court ruling on independent redistricting commissions

Political reformers in California and Arizona and the voters who supported them won a big round at the Supreme Court on Monday, when the justices upheld the use of independent redistricting commissions to draw election districts for members of Congress.

In a 5-4 decision, the justices said the Constitution did not prevent states from taking this power away from elected politicians and lodging it in the hands of a nonpartisan board.

If the court had struck down the independent commissions in Arizona State Legislature vs. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, it would have threatened numerous congressional districts in Arizona and California that were drawn by nonpartisan citizen commissions.

In addition, five other states have semi-independent commissions that could have been affected by the ruling: Washington, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii and New Jersey.

Richard Hasen, an election law expert at UC Irvine, called the ruling a rejection of “mindless literal reading” of a constitutional provision.

The decision is a victory for reformers who see independent commissions as the best weapon to stop politicians from manipulating electoral district lines to protect incumbents or political fiefdoms.


National Conference on State Legislatures --

Ballotpedia --,_Proposition_106_(2000) /

Official title

Proposition 106's official ballot title said:

“Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Arizona; Amending Article IV, Part 2, Section 1, Constitution of Arizona; relating to ending the practice of gerrymandering and improving voter and candidate participation in elections by creating an independent commission of balanced appointments to oversee the mapping of fair and competitive congressional and legislative districts.[5][4]”

Official summary

The Arizona Legislative Council, which produces summaries of Arizona's ballot measures for the state's official voter guide, said this about Proposition 106:

“Proposition 106 would amend the Arizona Constitution to establish an appointed Redistricting Commission to redraw the boundaries for Arizona's legislative districts (for the members of the Arizona Legislature) and to redraw the boundaries for the Congressional Districts (for Arizona's members of the United States Congress). Currently, state law provides that the Arizona Legislature draws the legislative and congressional district lines. These lines are usually redrawn every ten years, after the state receives the results of the U.S. Census.

This proposition provides that the appointed Redistricting Commission shall first draw districts that are equal in population in a grid-like pattern across the state, with adjustments to meet the following goals:

1. Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. 2. Both legislative and congressional districts shall be equal in population, to the extent practicable. This establishes a new strict population equality standard for legislative districts. 3. Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous, as much as practical. 4. District boundaries shall respect "communities of interest," as much as practical. 5. District lines shall follow visible geographic features, and city, town and county boundaries and undivided "census tracts" as much as practical. 6. Political party registration, voting history data and residences of incumbents and other candidates may not be used to create district maps. 7. "Competitive districts" are favored if competitive districts do not significantly harm the other goals listed.

The Redistricting Commission would consist of five members, no more than two of whom can be from the same political party or the same county. Persons would be eligible for membership on the commission if they meet certain voter registration requirements, and if during the last three years, they have not been candidates for public office or appointed to public office, except for school board members or officers, have not served as an officer of a political party or as an officer of a candidate's election committee and if they have not been a paid lobbyist. The Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, the Minority Party Leader of the Arizona House of Representatives, the President of the Arizona State Senate and the Minority Party Leader of the Arizona State Senate would each appoint one person to the Redistricting Commission. These four members of the Redistricting Commission would then meet and vote to appoint a fifth member to chair the commission. The commission would provide at least 30 days for the public to review the preliminary lines drawn by the commission, and then the commission would make the lines final, subject to approval by the United States Department of Justice.

Proposition 106 allocates $6 million to the Redistricting Commission for use in the redistricting process that begins in 2001 and allows additional money for later redistricting.[6] [4]


Supporters of Proposition 106 included:

Its sponsoring organization, "Fair Districts, Fair Elections"

Lisa Graham Keegan, Peoria, Superintendent of Public Instruction

John C. Keegan, Peoria, Mayor of Peoria

Janet Napolitano, Phoenix, Arizona Attorney General

Arizona Common Cause

League of Women Voters

Grant Woods, former Arizona Attorney General

The Arizona School Boards Association

Neil G. Giuliano, Mayor of Tempe

Sam Campana, former Mayor of Scottsdale, Scottsdale

Terry Goddard, former Mayor of Phoenix, Phoenix


Jim Pederson, the chair of "Fair Districts, Fair Elections," wrote:

“Every once in a while, an issue comes along that makes so much sense and so clearly embodies the basic principles of democracy, people put aside their partisan differences and take action to protect the collective interest of citizen self-government.

The Citizen's Redistricting Commission Initiative is such an issue. A simple idea about giving citizens a central role in creating more representative democracy with so much common sense appeal that it enjoys the support of Arizonans statewide.

Amending the state constitution is no small matter and this is no minor issue.

Every 10 years, state legislators redraw the lines of Arizona's legislative and congressional districts. It's a once-a-decade political power struggle that has grown more important as the state has grown.

When legislators draw their own lines the result is predictable. Self-interest is served first and the public interest comes in a distant second. Incumbent legislators protect their seats for today and carve out new congressional opportunities for their political future.

The legislature has created a system that distorts representative democracy. There is only a four- percent difference between the number of registered Republicans and registered Democrats in this state - yet out of 30 legislative districts, there is only one where the difference in party registration is within 5 percent.

Allowing legislators draw the lines is the ultimate conflict of interest...

Our voices cannot be heard in a system that distorts our representation. We share a responsibility to step forward and correct this systemic flaw.