Analysis

Don’t Judge a District by Its Shape

Can you spot the gerrymandered districts?

Unusually-shaped congressional districts
Brennan Center for Justice

Now that the 2020 census data has been officially released, states will soon unveil new congressional and legislative maps. In many states, 缺乏有意义的保障措施和对选举过程的一党控制再次威胁到选区的形成 gerrymandering, which carves up communities based only on the partisan inclinations of each household.  

The public has an important role to play in pushing back against the practice, 但重要的是要明白,识别不公平的地图意味着不仅仅考虑其选区的形状. 

对形状奇怪的区域持怀疑态度当然是合理的,毕竟 word “gerrymander”的灵感来自于马萨诸塞州一个看起来像蝾螈的地区,那是国父埃尔布里奇·格里担任州长时创建的. 但有时,乍一看很奇怪的边界只是遵循自然地理特征, like a river or a mountain range. 或者,它们可能是必要的,以团结住在不同地区,但有相似的代表性需求的社区, like communities of color that have been subject to residential discrimination. Other times, odd boundaries are very much the product of gerrymandering.

但是,仅仅因为一个地区有整齐、规则的地区界线,并不意味着它不是一个不公正的选区划分. In fact, 一些最严重的不公正划分地图根本没有任何奇怪的区域.

现实情况是,视觉检查可能是一个有用的,但最终非常不完整的分析. It is a good first test that can help identify where a deeper dive is needed. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover.

The following examples demonstrate why a district’s shape doesn’t tell the whole story.

Illinois’s Fourth Congressional District

伊利诺伊州第四国会选区(IL-04)因其不同寻常的形状而经常被人叫嚣, which extends across the northwest and southwest sides of Chicago. However, 它联合了两个拉丁裔社区,这两个社区在社会经济条件和语言方面有着广泛相似的特征, culture, and representational needs. The legacy of residential segregation policies, which split apart communities of color and pushed them to the outskirts of cities, continues to affect how Latino groups are distributed in Chicago.

IL-4

将这些社区结合在一个地区,使他们能够选出优先考虑他们利益的候选人. After it was first drawn during the 1990 redistricting cycle, constituents in IL-04 became the first in the Midwest to send a Latino representative to Congress.

将该地区的两个拉丁裔社区分开,以创建一个更整洁的地图,可能会削弱他们的投票权,并可能违反1965年的《宝盈bbin平台接入》. 仔细观察就会发现,这个地区奇特的形状有助于保护一个利益共同体, a key goal of fair redistricting.

Pennsylvania’s Seventh Congressional District  

宾夕法尼亚州的第七国会选区(PA-07)就是一个例子,说明形状奇怪的选区有时会被划分为不公正选区. 

PA-7

As drawn by Republican lawmakers in 2011, 它跨越了50英里的费城郊区和阿米什农田,没有遵循自然地理边界或社区界线, in some places narrowing to the width of a single parking lot or building. Community members struggled 联合起来影响当选的领导人,因为他们分不清哪个邻居住在这个地区. Republicans drew this district with the specific goal of excluding left-leaning areas that would dilute their right-wing base.

However, in 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled 该州的国会地图存在过度的党派不公正划分,有利于共和党人. 最高法院随后采用了一种替代的国会地图,从而产生了更具竞争性的选举和更公平的结果.

Most of the old PA-07 ended up in the new Fifth Congressional District, 它遵循现有的政治边界,包含一个费城郊区的统一社区. The strange shape of districts like PA-07 invited questions about the original map, and further analysis showed that it was drawn for unfair partisan reasons.

North Carolina’s Thirteenth and Sixth Congressional Districts  

北卡罗来纳州过去10年的国会地图显示,选区形状可以掩盖党派不公正划分选区的企图. The Greensboro area around North Carolina A&T州立大学,美国历史上最大的黑人大学,就是一个明显的例子. 

NC-13, NC-6

在2010年的选区重划周期中,共和党议员绘制了一幅地图,将a&T学生和黑人选民在周边地区进入第十二国会选区, reducing their statewide political influence through “packing.”

When a court struck down this district as a racial gerrymander in 2016, lawmakers redrew the map to divide A&T’s campus across the Thirteenth and Sixth Congressional Districts (NC-13 and NC-06), weakening students’ voting power through “cracking.” By refusing to recognize the school’s campus as a community of interest, 北卡罗来纳州的立法者能够划分出两个相对紧凑的选区,共和党人将轻松获胜.

When a state court ruled this map was also a partisan gerrymander in 2019, it was redrawn to place A&T’s full campus within NC-06. Many students at the university said they were motivated to participate politically after learning how their community had been targeted by partisan gerrymandering. The seat shifted from Republican to Democratic control in the redrawn map, 这表明当学生和社区成员被划分到两个地区时,他们被剥夺了足够的政治代表权.

大学社区过去十年的经验强调了超越视觉外观来确定地图是否公正绘制的重要性, because regular-seeming shapes can be deceiving.

California’s Forty-Fifth Congressional District  

加州的第四十五国会选区(CA-45)是由一个独立的选区重划委员会而不是州立法机构划定的. The commission gained control of the redistricting process starting with the 2010 cycle, when it drew districts including CA-45. 

CA-45

Following instructions to keep communities of interest together, the California commission drew CA-45 with a fairly regular shape. 它以主要公路为界,包括奥兰治县中部和南部的部分社区. 尽管该地区曾经是保守派的大本营,但拉美裔和亚裔社区一直是 driving 近年来人口的增长,导致了居民政治偏好的转变. 而之前的立法绘制的地图无情地划分了社区,以保护现任者并防止席位易手, in 2018 CA-45 was among four seats in Orange County that flipped from Republican to Democratic control.

This marked the first time that CA-45 had sent a Democrat to Congress. The 2020 election then saw two Orange County districts switch back to Republicans, although CA-45 reelected its Democratic incumbent. Creating more competition was not a goal of the redistricting commission, but by keeping communities together, the map ensures that as the political leanings of a state’s population shift, residents will elect leaders in line with those changes.

简而言之,这个地区是一个形状整齐的地区,很好地代表了人们.

一个地区的形状只是一个因素,以判断代表性的影响时,提出的地图. 如果能够让每个人都有意义地参与到我们的民主中来,形状奇特的地区不一定是一个宝盈bbin平台接入. As the redistricting cycle picks up steam, public comments 在建议的地图上,必须超越视觉表象来评估这些计划是否促进了社区的公平代表权.