Convention Edition 2003 Home   Newsletters

Fall 2003

Winter 2003

President's Message (Maile Bay)
To All Leaguers
Proposed Positions for Adoption through Concurrence
On Election of Judges
Elections Office: The Newest & Final (Jean Aoki)
LWV-US Files Amicus Brief
Judicial Independence: Educating Citizens to Protect Equal Justice... (Nancy Connors)
LWV-US Ed Fund Grant
Ugly Side of Redistricting (Jean Aoki)
Practicum on the Hawaii Legislative Process (Grace Furukawa)

The Ugly Side of Redistricting

While we chuckle at or castigate the antics of the Democrats in Texas fleeing the state to prevent action on the re-redistricting plan produced by the Republicans, it is well to remember that this is serious business. It is all aimed at the control of Congress by either party after the 2004 elections. The present Texas redistricting plan was drawn by a three-judge federal panel in 2001. Under this plan, the Democrats hold a 17-15 advantage which Republicans insist does not reflect the true distribution of party preferences in Texas. Under their proposed plan, with the urging of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay of Texas, the lines are redrawn to include more Republican-majority districts.

The Center for Voting and Democracy has published Monopoly Politics 2002: How "No Choice" Elections Rule in a Competitive House. It's on a theme which we commented on in a previous article on redistricting-" legislators picking their constituents before their constituents choose them. "

Says the Center monograph, "In most House races, we can project not only who will win but by what margin without knowing anything about the identity of the challenger, about the voting record or any other characteristic of the incumbent, about campaign spending in past or current elections or about polling data and organizational endorsements. All we need to know are the results from recent federal elections in the district and the incumbent's party and seniority."

Charts and graphs and other statistical information, then, tell us how really powerless we are to change our representation in the U.S. House, and equally or more so in our state legislatures. District lines in nearly all states are drawn for incumbent protection.

You can access the article cited here at:

Jean Aoki

Convention Edition 2003 Home   Newsletters Winter 2003