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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dreaming of lines and the 4 corners.

The first day of session in the books and it was all about the new district lines. Sitting on the judiciary committee I had a front row seat to it all. So much so it was what I was dreaming about as I awoke this morning. As many people know, new Republican Senator Kerry Roberts is looking at a serious short end of the stick and it had me and many others twisted up inside all day long.

With the numbers, court cases and population shifts he is looking like he will be more or less drawn out of his own district in November and will be living in Sen. Summervilles district. Some might say let them fight it out in an August primary but Sen. Summerville will not be up for election until 2014.

For Kerry, most of his district lines came down to 2 big factors. The AG said he did not want to defend more then 8 districts that had split (partial) counties in them and the population of each district had to be with in @ 9-10% (5% up or down) deviation of the average population of all districts.

In the end with all the best efforts made we could get one piece in place for him but not the other. Its rotten. No one likes it. But that's how it is looking like it is going to go down. We are still all open to changes but there does not look to be a solution.

Other changes are also being considered. Some Democrats have come to the table and are looking for some concessions on their district lines. Leadership said they are willing to listen to alternative solutions but it is difficult to do much without sending ripple effect waves across the entire state breaking the limits in place somewhere else.

Some people think the Dems will sue no matter what. The thought is no matter the legality, they will play the "Four corners" and try and hold the implementation up in court until after the next elections are over. It is doubtful if this can be done or not but it is the thought.

If by chance they are successful it could throw the entire state into chaos. When the lines drawn up by Republicans are later held up in court, it could require another state wide election cycle because those elected held under the old lines would not potentially be from the true district. If by chance the Dems win, the drawing of lines issue could start all over. The legislature could be made to draw a new plan or the courts could try to draw their own plan. Knowing all the time our leadership put into what we have, just to come up with what we did, it would be a mess taking years and cost the state millions of dollars to defend in court. A no win for anyone except possibly a few democrats that might be able to hang on to their seats for an extra year or two at a cost of millions to the state.

So far the dems have not offered any alternative solutions but have been satisfied voting no on our plans in committee (showing intent to protest).


  1. Speaking of "getting the short end of the stick," my neighbors and I are not very happy about losing Rep. Frank Niceley and gaining
    Rep. Harry Tindell...

    Maybe this is part of the strategy...

    Not sure whether to move or wait until election time to solve this problem...

  2. Here's an idea: Let a handful of software/GIS companies bid on using a stochastic algorithm to redraw lines every 10 years. Two-thirds of the legislature will need to approve the characteristics in the algorithm, along with which companies which present a qualified algorithm can participate. Then, let's say you vote on 5 companies to draw. Of the 5, the algorithm will be reviewed by a third-party auditor to make sure there are no 'fudge factors'. A simple majority is all that is needed to select the winning set of district lines.

    Both parties have to agree to the criteria of the algorithm, but the majority party gets to select the most favorable set of party lines. It's a win-win.

  3. Here is an idea. Start at one corner of the state. Draw a box until it is filled with enough people to form a district. Start another box after that. Continue drawing roughly straight line boxes across the state with equal numbers of people in them. Nobody could claim that those were gerrymandered or racially based.


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