Where the lines are drawn

My latest op-ed, title above, appeared in Thursday’s Virginian-Pilot. If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I’ve long advocated that Virginia adopt a redistricting plan that removes the drawing of the lines from the the hands of the legislators. Any likelihood of that happening over the next 10 years evaporated Tuesday night.

Of course, it would help if folks paid attention to what’s going on. I get so tired of people railing about Washington. Whether you like or dislike what’s happening there, the best thing you can do to try to fix it is pay attention to local and state elections. Sadly, not enough people do.

As has been the custom over the last few years, I participated in a post-election roundup Wednesday night at a Republican Women’s Club meeting in Virginia Beach. Even there, the questions were about national issues, like health care, instead of what happened or what might happen in Virginia. With the overwhelming national political coverage, it’s far too easy to ignore what’s going on right under our noses.

I honestly don’t care what happened in Ohio Tuesday. I don’t live in Ohio. And Ohio ain’t Virginia.Try paying attention to stuff happening here.

Like Congressional redistricting. It dropped out of sight after the last legislative session in June. But expect it to be front and center come January, as this article mentions.

All politics is local.

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12 thoughts on “Where the lines are drawn

  1. I have left Virginia and I am so glad that I did. Now that Republicans dominate the state legislative body, don’t be surprised if many people bail. Right wing Christian conservatives now own this commonwealth. The Christian conservatives are the American Jihad. We need to separate church from state. Until we do, freedom will never ring” in America.

    1. I wouldn’t have a problem with using the computer to draw the lines. That’s kinda what the redistricting competition did. The one thing they have to leave out, though, is incumbent protection. That’s part of what causes the problem.

      1. I’m not so sure computers would be the best idea, at least not in Virginia. Someone’s got to put in the parameters and just given have the demographics and party-ID breaks out, you could easily end up with non-gerrymandered, non-competitive districts. You’d have to specifically aim for competitive districts and that would guarantee at least some level of gerrymandering to be successful. I think the best idea is to have a panel of experts draw the districts using some common sense. I’ve tried some computer generated districts and while they could be called perfect, they would lead to some pretty stupid configurations of territory as far as realistically representing the needs of a district is concerned.

        1. “you could easily end up with non-gerrymandered, non-competitive districts”

          I do not think of that as a major down-side. We already have gerrymandered non-competitive districts. If such districts are computer-generated, then at least the voters will be relatively localized.

  2. To often voters and people fail to focus on common points of agreement. It is interesting to note I have heard the term Seculer Jihad more and more. I have known may excellent conservative Christians and agnostic/athiests. Both groups also have individual and philosopical extremists

  3. During the election, it became apparent that SBE was having trouble counting due to split precincts. Why lines were drawn that split a precinct, I’ll never know.

    In any case, we have a long time to strategize and plan for redistricting… in 2021.

    1. The redistricting plans created more split precincts than ever. There were several reports of the wrong ballots being given to the voters.

      I have no hope that 2021 will be any different. Until we change the players, we can’t change the game.

  4. I’d rather computers were used to draw randomized districts than the way they are used now, to draw the most gerrymandered districts possible. House Republicans were really fortunate to have taken control by 2001 when the software got so good. If it was up to me I’d tell the computer that the criteria was to draw as many competitive districts as possible, instead of a fews as possible, as is done now.

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