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Open Source Tool Lets Anyone Redistrict New York 102

Posted by timothy
from the move-staten-island-a-bit-closer-to-the-bronx dept.
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 sribe (304414) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @11:46AM (#38116982)

    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.

    At-large elections eliminate representation of minority views, duh (consult a history book or two about the civil rights struggles of the 60s).

  • Not really useful? (Score:5, Informative)

    by el_flynn (1279) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @12:25PM (#38117266) Homepage

    The tool just teaches you how to redistrict - but has absolutely no real-life outcome. "It's full of smoke-filled back room dealmaking by political insiders with little public input" - highly doubtful that this will ever change.

    It's like watching Man vs Wild.

  • by thue (121682) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @12:27PM (#38117282) Homepage

    We have an at-large election system here in Denmark, as in much of continental Europe. This proportional representation [wikipedia.org] gives each voter a vastly better opportunity to vote for the candidate which best represents him, instead of just having to vote for the lesser of two evils or throwing your vote away.

  • You missed his point (Score:5, Informative)

    by pavon (30274) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @01:31PM (#38117680)

    But it comes down to the people. Like it or not - Bitch all you want but the fact of the matter is that our elected officials reflect the people. Our politicians act the way they do because that's how they get elected. period.

    No they don't. This is demonstrated fact.

    Say the House in your state allows 100 representatives. The current system of choosing these 100 representative is to slice up the state into 100 districts, each of which chooses a single representative in a winner take all election. Suppose the Green party has a 10% support of voters across the state. Unless enough of them live in a single district such that they represent more than 50% of the vote in that district, they will not get a single representative.

    Even among the major parties, if you have a Democratic leaning state with 60% of the population voting democrat, you will find that more than 60% of the representatives are Democrats because of the same effect. Our current system of voting only represents geographic diversity, not diversity within a region.

    Apart from starting a huge hippy commune, the supporters of the Green party will never get the representation they deserve. Even then, chances are that the incumbents will simply change the boundaries of the district that the commune is in to include enough people from neighboring communities to ensure that the Greens don't get enough votes. Likewise for the Libertarians, who have had very limited success thus far with their Free State initiative.

    On the other hand, if you had a proportional election across the entire state this wouldn't be a problem. That has the downside that individual politicians get lost in the sea of the party. Alternately, if you did away with voting districts, and just had each county elect a handful of representatives*, then you will still be voting for individuals, but would give much greater chance for third parties and result in a House that is more representative of the views of the people.

    * In the case where the counties are huge (which is a problem in itself), still have districting, but make the districts 3-4 times larger than they currently are and elect 3-4 times the number of representatives per district.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @03:45PM (#38118742)

    An optimal election looks like this: [...]

    lol, what a load of crap. maybe you should read about electoral systems before spouting off. here's a start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote

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