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Open Source Tool Lets Anyone Redistrict New York 102 102

First time accepted submitter Micah_Altman writes "As the next redistricting battle shapes up in New York, members of the public have an opportunity to create viable alternatives. Unlike the previously reported crowdsourced redistricting of Los Angeles, the public mapping of New York is based on open source software — anyone can use this to set up their own public web-based redistricting effort."
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Open Source Tool Lets Anyone Redistrict New York

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  • by Patrick May (305709) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @12:43PM (#38116956)
    Districting only serves to virtually guarantee safe seats for the incumbent parties. We need at large elections to increase the representation of minority views and weaken the established players.
  • by fsckmnky (2505008) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @12:59PM (#38117080)
    Solve the problem once, and not more than once.

    Standardize on a re-districting algorithm, and use it.

    Social Securities funds wouldn't be in the toilet, if someone just hit re-calc once a year, on the spreadsheet that contained formulas that accounted for the dynamic nature of the population. Instead, we get to argue over static numbers until the sun explodes.

  • Let them eat cake (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@ y a h o o . c om> on Sunday November 20, 2011 @01:06PM (#38117134)

    Shouldn't it be 3d? That way they can draw lines so people living on top floors can vote and the people on the ground floor can eat cake.

  • Ooh, I want One! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @01:06PM (#38117136) Homepage Journal
    Since we're redistricting this year anyway, I want my own one-house district! A representative will have to work hard to gain all the votes in Brucistan, but it will be well worth making the effort!
  • by Patrick May (305709) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @01:19PM (#38117218)
    Perhaps you should spend some time looking into alternative voting systems before flaming on Slashdot. In an at large system with N representatives for M people, any candidate getting M/N votes will get a seat. That increases the chances of a minority view being heard. In a gerrymandered system, the incumbent parties can ensure that the minority view is spread out over every district, diluting it to insignificance.
  • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @01:58PM (#38117474)

    That never works because by in large people are not willing to pay for the costs of all the programs they like.

    Bill Clinton tried to do that with Medicare. Payouts were tied to funding... automatic cuts were supposed to be made. And of course the medical associations and lobbyists made a fuss.. the cuts are postponed...

    It would be the same with social security. If the plans calls for automatic increases in contributions, people will make a fuss. If it calls for cuts in benefits.. people will make a fuss... and the government will cave.

    You can see this in action. Sweden for example is known to have one of the best 'formula' based pension systems...taking into account the economy, age, expected life span... All was wonderful of course when nothing bad was demanded by the formula. When the economic downturn occurred and it demanded pension cuts for the elderly... the government caved. it compensated for the loss of pension income with tax cuts for the elderly to make up the difference. So basically, even the swedes were unable to follow the formula when it came to take the bad side of the formula.

    If things are not politically possible, they're not possible. Not recognizing that... is even dumber.

  • by mysidia (191772) * on Sunday November 20, 2011 @03:46PM (#38118230)

    In a gerrymandered system, the incumbent parties can ensure that the minority view is spread out over every district, diluting it to insignificance.

    In a gerrymandered system, incumbent parties can ensure that the majority view is spread out over every district, diluting it into a minority.

    Minority opinions are not supposed to be what get representatives elected.

    An optimal election looks like this: If a state has 5 seats, you get a pool of candidates, say 60 people who want to be a representative.

    You have 6 elections. First a qualifying election, where voters are asked to vote "Yes" or "No" for each candidate in the pool; for their ballot to be counted, at least 5 Yes votes must be registered, and the rest must be No, but they can vote Yes to as many candidates as they like.

    Candidates that get less than 51% are disqualified and removed from the pool.

    Then, you have another election to decide the first seat; voters are asked to choose their favorite candidate. Whoever has the plurality wins the second election, and becomes the first representative.

    Next, another election is held to decide the second seat. Voters have the knowledge of which candidate already has a seat, and this may influence their decision about who to vote for -- for example, many voters might want to make sure they don't have representation too lopsided towards one political persuasion or the other - they might not to give any single political party too much power.

    Whoever gets plurality on Election #2 fills seat # 2, of course the winner of Seat 1 is no longer a candidate, so the vote is divided over a smaller number of candidates, and the voter options are reduced by 1 for the 2nd election.

    Then a third election is called to fill seat #3, etc,.

    The number of elections required is larger, but the result is a more accurate representation of the public view. The strong winner is chosen quickly, and the losers get a better understanding of what the public wants to better tune their plans and their campaign in between elections, resulting in far better representation for the constituents.

A slow pup is a lazy dog. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"