Monday, February 18, 2013

Democrats Have Time to Redraw Their Maps To Increase Black VAP Majority Districts

As I mentioned in my last post, both competing Council District maps lose Black Voting Age Population (VAP) majority districts.  Currently there are 4.  The Republican drawn maps drop that number to 3, and the Democrat drawn maps drop to 2.

This is an important point.  Districts should to be drawn respecting communities of interest, with reasonably equal populations, be contiguous and reasonably compact.  Roughly one quarter of the Marion County population is African-American, so one would expect fair representation of that community would cause more than 2 Black VAP majority districts to be created.

Also, it should be said, one would hope that this was important to the Democratic caucus, especially, where roughly half of their voters are African-American.

But, where is the evidence that saving Black VAP districts can be accomplished.

I send you to the Common Cause District Builder website, Draw Marion County.   Common Cause Indiana used national resources to establish this website, held training sessions all around the County, encouraged individuals and groups to draw and submit their own maps using the software, and even submitted a map of their own.  Now, for full disclosure, I am a Board Member of Common Cause Indiana, and I was involved in drawing the map they submitted.

But, there were other maps drawn and shared on the Draw Marion County site.  Click here to begin, click on 'Enter As a Guest' button, and then click on the 'Shared' button.  This will cause a list of 10 Council District maps to appear.  The top one is the D drawn map.

As mentioned above, there are currently 4 Black VAP majority districts.  The R drawn map has 3.  The D drawn map has 2.

Of the 9 remaining 'Shared' maps, 2 have three Black VAP majority districts, 5 have 4 such districts, and 2 have five such districts.  All preserved more than the D drawn map.

So, it is not only possible, others (who didn't get paid to do it, even) managed more than the Democrat's hired gun did.

I say the Democrat Council caucus should use its time, while the legality of the R drawn maps is being considered in the Courts, to generate maps that better fit with the ideals of the party and which better preserve this very important community of interest.


Frank Watson said...

I would go along with this a lot easier if Straight Party Voting was eliminated. I saw a good and decent politician defeated because Obama pulled black voters to the polls and they voted a straight ticket. I am for Black representation. I am against Straight Party voting.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I agree with you as far as the straight party voting. That can be eliminated from the ballot, by the way, even as you wait for the elimination of parties.

Other cities have non-partisan Council seats, and it works.

Paul K. Ogden said...
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Paul K. Ogden said...

Democratic redistricting usually includes fewer "majority minority" districts than do Republican drawn maps. There is a reason why. African-Americans vote heavily Democrat. By following the mandate to create more majority-minority districts allows the Republicans to concentrate more Democratic-leaning voters in fewer districts. In short, you get more majority-minority districts but fewer Democratic districts.

But actually there is a very good reason why we are seeing the creation of fewer majority-minority districts in Marion County. The fact is housing is much less segregated than it used to be. Whites, blacks, and Hispanics now live side by side in most parts of Indianapolis. Thus creating minority districts is increasingly difficult without creating crazy looking districts that bound from one community to another trying to incorporate into the district the fewer and fewer precincts where there is a majority of minority population. That's a good thing and we ought to celebrate it.

Anonymous said...

Redistricting in Indy, which seems these days to be a function of the Supreme Court, might actually get placed in the hands of a neutral agency if the Supremes would just open it up to anyone who wanted to use the new redistricting software, and than announcing it was just going to pick one of the submissions randomly.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I think you are underestimating the strength of African-American voters in the districts that favor a Democratic candidate. If a district is drawn to elect a Democratic candidate, then the better indicator of whether an African-American candidate stands a chance of winning election in that district is the demographic make-up of the people who vote in the Democratic primary for that district. I think you will find that there are Democratic-drawn districts, which may not be black majority districts but nonetheless will present good opportunities for black candidates to win the primary election because of the strength black voters represent in the Democratic primary. More importantly, your chances of being nominated in a Democratic-leaning district unless you are slated by the party are slim to none. We all know that the Marion Co. Democrats enforce affirmative action in its slating process to ensure the party nominates at least a certain percentage of black candidates regardless of what the demographics might be in a particular district. Except for a handful of truly competitive districts, the vast majority of council districts are gerrymandered to the point that the candidate nominated in the primary is for all pratical purposes always going to be the general election winner.