shortest splitline algorithm vs voting rights act?

When we first discussed the shortest-splitline algorithm for eliminating gerrymandering, Warren D. Smith had commented on the potential issue that current law mandates majority-minority districts.

The “issue” that gerrymandering to make majority-minority districts is required by law… sounds interesting. I encourage you to actually look at the law and inform us what the heck you are talking about.

Alas, I never did do that research. I had originally suspected that this might be so from the redistricting game.

It looks like Warren has now heard the same message from CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen while attending the Electronic Voting technology Workshop in Boston.

Here is what Warren has said on the matter:

CA secretary of state and heroine D. Bowen was there listening to the talks. I sat next to her at lunch and tried my best to give her the goods. But she’s very knowledgeable. I’m impressed. She said shortest splitline would be illegal under the voting rights act. Basically her argument was that gerrymandering is mandated by the VRA to create “majority minority” districts and splitline would prevent that hence is illegal, QED.

I suppose that I (or someone) should do the legwork to read the voting rights act to see what it has to say on the matter.

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3 responses to “shortest splitline algorithm vs voting rights act?

  1. Pingback: CA voting rights act only applies to at-large voting systems « All About Voting

  2. It’s because, as I have stated elsewhere on this site, that the “shortest splitline algorithm” will not create sufficient minority districts. In Houston, for one example, minority districts can be created, but only by drawing the lines in a basic convoluted way. Any method, computer or otherwise, that does not create those minority districts would certain violate Sec. 5 of the VRA (it would be retrogressive) but also would not hold up under Sec. 2 (because it could be demonstrated that a somewhat geographically compact area could be drawn into a district that would allow the minority groups reasonable say in that district).

  3. with a large enough amount of districts, both minority groups and local areas would retain their cultural identity in expression of their political views. political boundaries based on ethnic boundaries is offensive to me, and of course any politician will be against a completely unbiased system. it is not that it would be illegal that bothers them and this should be obvious. they argue that it could be illegal, and this is a half-truth non-argument that is not even thought through.

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