Reapportionment and Redistricting in the West

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They describe the ways in which some of these states achieve redistricting through independent redistricting commissions--a process rarely found in other regions--and they provide policy prescriptions for the future. Chapter 9.

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Moncrief is professor of political Science at Boise State University. Reapportionment and Redistricting in the West Gary F. Chapter 1. Chapter 2.

Chapter 3. Because Democratic governor John Hickenlooper refused to call a special session, redistricting of Colorado U. House seats was completed in state court. As a consequence, Colorado will feature a number of competitive U. House elections throughout the coming decade. Map drawing for state legislative seats by the CRC has also been hindered by partisanship. Hoping to break a partisan stalemate, in late summer the nonpartisan chair of the CRC offered maps that combined parts of prior Democratic and Republican proposals to create thirty-three competitive seats out of a total of and twenty-four seats with Hispanic populations of 30 percent or more.

While partisan considerations have loomed large in the reapportionment and redistricting processes in Arizona and Colorado, in Republican-dominated Idaho the main points of contention have been spatial. After sorting through a number of legal and constitutional questions, a second set of commissioners were impaneled and completed their work in less than three weeks. While growth patterns and demographic and partisan change in Nevada between and insured a redistricting process that would favor Democrats, Nevada Republicans sought to delay this inevitability as long as possible.

Instead, he and his party hoped for a better outcome in state court. Despite drawing a supervising judge who was the son of a former Republican Governor, Nevada Republicans fared no better in state court. House district.

2020 United States redistricting cycle

House seats favor Democrats, one is safely Republican, and the fourth is a swing district. In the Nevada legislature the representation of urban interests will increase as parts of or all of forty-seven of the sixty-three seats in the Nevada legislature are now located in the Democratic stronghold of Clark County. House seats in manner favorable to the party. House seats prior to the end of the special session and the plans for the state legislature that were passed on party line votes were vetoed by Republican governor Susana Martinez. Thus, as in , the likely outcome in New Mexico is a redistricting plan that will be favorable to the Democrats and weaken the influence of rural interests.

Utah is the only state in the region where conditions exist e.

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Similarly, maps for state legislative districts increase the number of seats that favor the GOP and, in many instances, protect incumbents from potential primary challengers by dividing communities into multiple districts. Reapportionment and redistricting are often regarded as the most political activities in the United States; an expectation that is certainly being realized across the Mountain West. In the swing states where legislators draw the maps for example, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico but where state government is divided, partisan considerations loomed large, causing all of these states to conclude all or parts of their redistricting processes in the courts.

In one-party Idaho and Utah, the politics of space were at issue. Geographic constraints on district boundaries imposed through statute and the Idaho constitution ensured that more rural seats were preserved and that the growing influence of urban interests will be checked.

The Redistricting Song

In Utah, Republicans moved in the opposite direction by carving up the very communities from which they are elected in order to implement a partisan gerrymander. Another school of thought, however, argues that the most typical redistricting outcome is not partisan gain or loss, but an uncertainty that shakes up the state political environment and facilitates political renewal.

In the case of the Mountain West, there is evidence to support that claim as well.

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The biggest source of uncertainty will continue to be growth. While the economic downturn has slowed migration to the region, the Mountain West states remain poised to keep expanding in a manner that will further concentrate and diversify their populations.

At the state level, with the exception of Idaho, the most significant consequence will be a reduction in rural influence. The combination of term limits in Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, small legislative chambers, and fast growing urban populations will continue to decrease the number of entrenched rural legislators and the number of stand-alone rural districts. Consequently, urban interests should be positioned to align state policy with demographic reality. The void created by the demise of rural legislators will be filled by minorities, particularly Hispanics.

United States redistricting cycle - Wikipedia

To date, the increased political activism of Hispanic communities across the region has primarily benefited Democrats; helped in no small part by the hard-line rhetoric and policies championed by some Mountain West Republicans. Thus, with or without Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, minority legislators, primarily Hispanics, will increase their ranks significantly.

Nationally, the impact of reapportionment and redistricting is mixed.

Certainly, the addition of three U. House seats after the census will give more voice to regional issues in Washington D.

The Impact of Density and Diversity on Reapportionment and Redistricting in the Mountain West

Senate is likely to decline in the near term. Bush narrowly winning all three in and Democrat Barack Obama flipping them blue in by wider margins. Obviously, Idaho and Utah will remain out of reach for the Democrats in statewide contests for some time. Thus, continued investment in Arizona and throughout the region will allow the Democrats to further expand the number of Mountain West states in play while forcing the GOP to spend resources to defend turf that it once could safely call its own.

Endnotes [i] U. Senate seats changed parties in The Idaho Citizen Commission for Reapportionment ICCR consists of six members, four of whom are chosen by party leaders of the Idaho Legislature and one member chosen by each of the state chairs for the Democratic and Republican parties. Only the member New Mexico Senate exceeds the national average chamber size.

The lower chamber of the Utah legislature could be expanded as it is presently below its constitutional cap. Arizona and Nevada set the sizes of their legislatures by statute. In both instances, the provisions of the Voting Rights Act have the perverse effect of increasing symbolic representation for minority groups while decreasing the number of legislators who may be receptive to minority interests.

See, Kevin A. Reno U. House districts and because white voters in Nevada do not vote as a block as evidenced by the fact that Hispanic candidates won eight state legislative seats, the attorney generalship, and the governorship in without such accommodations, race-based redistricting in Nevada is unnecessary.