[EM] More on Gerrymander prevention

Michael Rouse mrouse at cdsnet.net
Fri Mar 22 07:34:25 PST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurij Toplak" <jure.toplak at uni-mb.si>
To: <election-methods-list at eskimo.com>
Sent: Friday, March 22, 2002 2:03 AM
Subject: Re: [EM] More on Gerrymander prevention
> Most of the countries draw districts according to the total "population".
> Some draw them according to the "total number of voters" (for example
> England) but none does it according to the "votes cast". The reason is
> called "equal voting right principle". If the districts would be drawn
> according to the votes cast that would mean that people that do not vote
> would be underrepresented.

I understand your point, but in a sense they are unrepresented anyway --
non-voters are not randomly picked, but choose themselves when the effort of
voting costs more than the benefit of voting. I can see how my vote should
be equal to another person's vote, but having my vote equal to another
person's non-vote? American history is not so kind on this count -- at the
start of the most shameful chapter in our country, slaves were "represented"
by 3/5ths of a vote, with such "representation" chosen by whites. Even when
blacks were enfranchised, things like poll taxes and literacy tests were
used to keep them away from the ballot box. It would have been better if
representation had been decided by the actual number of votes cast -- that
way, there would have been an incentive to see that everyone voted. (In
fact, you would have probably seen a competition between states as to which
would give women, blacks, native Americans, etc. the vote first).

Too bad the number of districts aren't a nice power of two -- both of us
could be satisfied then. Draw a line between the population centroid and the
voting centroid (or population median and voting median), and continue until
you have the number of districts you want. That way, roughly equal voters
and residents would be in each district.

Michael Rouse
mrouse at cdsnet.net

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