Florida Labeled Worst Gerrymandered State

Friday, May 30, 2014
Florida's District 3 (AP Graphic)

When it comes to manipulating political boundaries to favor one party over another, Florida stands above all other states.

 

This assessment comes from Jonathan Katz, a California Institute of Technology statistics professor and expert on redistricting. In his testimony supporting a League of Women Voters lawsuit, Katz reportedly declared the Sunshine State to have most gerrymandered maps he’s ever seen.

 

In 2012, Republican candidates for the House of Representatives in Florida won 53% of the vote, but gained 63% of the seats.

 

The plaintiffs in the case are trying to get Florida’s redistricting boundaries thrown out, claiming they have given Republicans an unfair and illegal advantage over Democrats.

 

Katz’s opinion was supported by another academic, Stanford political science professor Jonathan Rodden, who said it was “virtually impossible” for the state to create its congressional boundaries without some degree of intent, according to Ian Millhiser at Think Progress.

 

Gerrymandering is a big reason why the GOP has enjoyed its control over the U.S. House.

 

In the 2012 elections, Democratic congressional candidates nationwide polled more than 1.3 million more votes than Republicans, yet it was the Republicans who won a 34-seat majority. Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post says Democrats should have 18 more seats in the House, based on the votes received two years ago.

 

Eighteen out of 435 seats may not sound significant until you consider that a flip of that many seats would give Democrats control of the House. Currently, Democrats have 199 seats, and Republicans 233. Take 18 away from the GOP and add them to the Democrats’ column and the partisan split would be 217-215 in favor of the Dems.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Redistricting Expert: Florida’s Gerrymandered Maps Give An 8 Point Advantage To Republicans (by Ian Millhiser, Think Progress)

What 60 Years of Political Gerrymandering Looks Like (by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post)

America’s Most Gerrymandered Congressional Districts (by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post)

Could Gerrymandering that Helped GOP in 2012 Backfire in 2014? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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